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Full text of "The life and letters of Lady Hester Stanhope"

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IT would seem from the variety of publications con- 
cerning her that there is still a flicker of public 
interest with regard to Lady Hester Stanhope, and 
so it has seemed well to members of her family 
that the book written about her by my mother, 
and privately circulated, should now be given to the 
public as the authoritative biography of this strange 






NINGEN . . . I 



GLEN IRFON . . . . . . 47 

1803 1810 



1810 1812 




1812 1816 


















BURIAL , . 39 2 



INDEX . . . .459 







LADY HESTER STANHOPE, the eldest of the three children 
of my grandfather, Charles third Earl Stanhope's first 
marriage, was born in 1776. Her mother, Lady 
Hester Pitt, a daughter of the great Earl of Chatham, 
who is said to have been Mr. Pitt's favourite sister, 
died when she was only four years old, leaving behind 
her the memory of a singularly beautiful and perfect 
character. " She was," writes Lord Haddington (her 
husband's cousin), " a woman rarely to be met with ; 
wise, temperate, and prudent ; by nature cheerful, 
without levity ; a warm friend, and free from all the 
petty vices that attend little minds." Had she grown 
up under the care and guidance of such a mother, 
Lady Hester might have been a far different person, 
and her great natural gifts been far otherwise em- 
ployed. To her and her baby sisters the loss was 

My grandfather is represented as plunged in the 
wildest despair at his wife's death. Yet in little more 
than six months he had married her cousin, Louisa 
Grenville, 1 and the new Lady Mahon did not commend 
herself to her little step-daughters. She was a worthy 

1 The daughter of Lady Chatham's younger brother, the Hon. 
Henry Grenville, Governor of Barbadoes and Ambassador to the 
Porte, who was uncle to the first Marquis of Buckingham. 


and well-meaning woman ; but, as I remember her, 
stiff and frigid, with a chilling, conventional manner. 
They never became fond of her, and she never seems 
to have gained any influence over them least of all 
over Lady Hester. As for their father, he apparently 
did not even attempt to do so ; he merely gave his 
orders, and took care they were obeyed. They saw 
very little of him, for he was the busiest of men 
always hard at work in his laboratory or study, 
engrossed with politics, and taking an active part in 
public life. All agree that he was a very fine speaker ; 
but he was too loud and vehement in his delivery, and 
indulged in the un-English habit of gesticulation. 1 
We read of " Mahon out-roaring torrents in their 
course " in the fervour and flow of his declamation, 
and how 

The Don Quixote of the nation 
Beats his own windmill in gesticulation. 

But I am quoting his detractors. To his admirers 
and they were numerous and enthusiastic he was 
another Ludlow or Algernon Sydney. Bred up in 
Geneva as a Republican, he developed into a Jacobin 
during the French Revolution, and stood in open 
antagonism to all his brother Peers. This, however, 
was very far from causing him concern. He was a 
good fighter, and rather enjoyed it. On the first 
question upon which he divided the House of Lords, 
he did not find a single supporter ; but he was so 

Eroud of this " glorious minority of one " that he de- 
ghted in repeating the experience. On one of these 
occasions, a friend who stood by him was severely 
taken to task. "Why," he said, "you spoiled that 
division ! " When first presented at Court, he had 
electrified the polite world by appearing with his 
black hair unpowdered ; and in 1792 he emulated his 
French friends by discarding, with his title, every 
emblem and attribute of rank. Even the coronets over 
the iron gates at Chevening were taken down, and he 
was styled Citizen Stanhope. Later in life, I believe, 
his opinions were modified ; he dropped the citizen- 
ship, and replaced the coronets. 

1 M. Van de Weyer, so long Belgian Minister in London, told me 
that when endeavouring to assimilate himself to English ways, the 
first thing he had to learn was to keep his hands quiet. " I used to 
put them under the table and say to them, ' You are to lie there ! ' " 

1776-1803] MECHANICAL SKILL 2 

But it is not by his political vagaries that my grand- 
father will be remembered ; his fame rests on far 
higher grounds. He was illustrious as a man of 
science, and one of the greatest inventive geniuses of 
his time. The first little craft ever propelled by steam 
was, I believe, 1 built by him, and launched on the 
piece of water in his grounds at Chevening. He 
offered his invention to the Admiralty, and an " anti- 
navigator" ship on his plan was built and tried; but 
the Lords decided that these trials were conclusive 
against steam navigation. He was nowise daunted. 
" Some of your Lordships now sitting here," he said 
in the House of Lords, " will live to see steamships 
crossing the Atlantic." He was received with con- 
tempt and derision, and pronounced to be " a little 
madder than usual." Yet he himself very nearly saw 
the fulfilment of this visionary prophecy, for the first 
steamer crossed the "great herring pond" in 1818, 
only two years after his death. The propeller he used 
was the screw, which, though then discarded, has now 
almost entirely superseded Fulton's paddle-boxes. 

I cannot even attempt to enumerate all his other 
inventions, for their name is legion. One is amazed 
at the versatility of his genius. There was the cal- 
culating machine which so long preceded Babbage's ; 
the Stanhope printing press (from which all sub- 
sequent presses have been more or less copied) ; the 
Stanhope lens for testing the skins of fever patients ; 
the plan for securing buildings from lightning by 
means of " the returning stroke," contained in his 
Treatise on Electricity ; a new method of tuning musical 
instruments ; the reasoning machine for exposing the 
sophistry of false logic, which occupied him even on 
his death-bed, &c., &c. 2 One very valuable discovery 
was his system of rendering buildings fireproof, on 
the well-known principle that combustion can never 
take place where the air is excluded. To illustrate 
this in practice he had a fire-proof wooden house 

1 I speak under correction, as I cannot give the exact date ; but it 
was in 1793 that, his invention being perfected, he offered "the im- 
portant plan, invented by myself, for navigating ships of the largest 
size without any wind, and even against wind and waves," to the 
Government. It had cost him no less than twenty years of labour, 
and very considerable sums of money. 

1 His " Demonstrator, or Logical Machine," was described by the 
Rev. R. Harley to the British Association in 1878. 


built, surrounded it with a quantity of combustible 
material, invited a party of friends to assemble on the 
upper floor, and then set fire to the combustibles. 
The flames rose around to the height of 87 feet, yet 
the friends imprisoned within this circle of fire (who 
must have had their misgivings) did not suffer the 
slightest inconvenience. Philosophical Transactions for 

We, his descendants, are justly, and I may say 
exceedingly, proud of his genius and achievements, 
and yet humbly thankful that we were not called 
upon to live under his roof, for, ardently as he 
advocated liberty and enfranchisement abroad, he was 
the sternest of autocrats at home. His rule was 
absolute, his word law the law of the Medes and 
Persians, from which there was no appeal and he 
enforced the most implicit and unquestioning obedi- 
ence. Lady Hester, who did not know what fear 
meant, was perhaps the only one of his children not 
afraid of him, and by her own account, the one he 
liked the best. 1 The others all stood more or less in 
awe and dread of him, and as they grew up, one and 
all escaped from their unhappy home. In the end 
even my much-enduring grandmother found her posi- 
tion untenable. 

It was in this ungenial atmosphere that Lady Hester 
was brought up ; and, unhappily for her, brought up 
without the judicious care and training of which she, 
above all others, stood in need. She was, as I have 
already said, highly gifted. She possessed an intellect 
of rare scope and power, an almost intuitive quickness 
of perception, a vivid and poetic imagination, in- 
exhaustible energy, dauntless courage, a keen sense of 
humour, and a brilliant and ready wit. Her tongue 
was, in truth, a sharp-edged sword, and gained her 
many enemies ; but she could be eloquent and per- 
suasive as well as trenchant. With these she had 
noble qualities, both of the head and heart. She was 
honourable and loyal, despising and detesting all 
meanness, littleness, and deceit ; generous to a fault, 
divinely charitable, honest and high-minded, abhorring 
baseness of every sort or kind, a staunch friend, and 

1 " I could always govern my father better than anybody, because 
I could bear his oddities with more patience, and could joke him into 
things plain sense and argument would have failed in." 

1776-1803] EARLY DAYS 5 

an enthusiastic champion. Above all, she had a kind 
and tenderly compassionate heart, that warmed to 
every tale of sorrow or distress. Like her eldest 
brother and this was one point of resemblance be- 
tween them she was full of pity and sympathy for 
the ill-used or oppressed ; and whoever, in her opinion, 
had suffered wrong or failed to obtain his rights, was 
sure of finding an ardent advocate and protector in 
her. If she loved power she used it mainly on behalf 
of others. 

But with all these great capabilities there were 
formidable contending elements. She had much of 
her father's imperious and impetuous temper, with his 
indomitable and inflexible will. She was excessively 
proud, not a little vain, and above all wilful and 
domineering, and if a staunch friend, an unrelenting 
foe. She had the most boundless self-confidence, and 
honestly believed herself born to command. Even as 
a little child she was always, as her cousin Binning 
phrased it, " playing the empress-queen," and fond as 
she was of her sisters, yet delighted in exercising a 
kind of supremacy over them. " My sister Lucy was 
prettier than I was, and Griselda more clever. . . . 
Lucy's disposition was sweet, and her temper excel- 
lent ; she was like a Madonna. Griselda was other- 
wise, and always for making her authority felt. But 
I, even when I was only a girl, obtained and exercised, 
I can't tell how, a sort of command over them. They 
never came to me, when I was in my room, without 
sending first to know whether I would see them." 
Memoirs of Lady Hester Stanhope, as related by herself 
in conversations with her Physician. London, 1845. 

She must have been a terribly difficult pupil to deal 
with, and the governesses, whose task it was to con- 
trol and correct her, no doubt had many bitter experi- 
ences. I always think of them with compassion, and 
when, in the tone of an outraged princess, she speaks 
of the " eternal warfare " she has vowed against all 
Swiss and French governesses, I feel inclined to take 
their side. At all events, they were failures. Although 
hers was a character that more especially called for 
discipline and direction, she was suffered to grow up 
with very little of either, having acquired neither 
reserve nor self-control. In fact, the teaching was all 
the other way, for she early learned to despise and 


cast to the winds all the conventionalities of life. 
" Her early education," as Lord Stratford truly re- 
marked, "had much to do with her eccentricities. Her 
father, believing in manual labour, had set her regu- 
larly to tend turkeys on a common." Life of Stratford 
Canning. London, 1888. 

With the exception of this characteristic anecdote, 
all we know of Lady Hester's childhood is from her 
conversations with Dr. Meryon in Syria, many long 
years afterwards. Unfortunately, her memory had 
then become confused and wholly unreliable ; and my 
father, in annotating the doctor's book, marked one of 
the stories as incorrect, as well as the absurd account 
of her grandmother's housekeeping at Chevening. 1 
The discarded story was one that has been often 
quoted ; how, when " Citizen Stanhope " thought it 
consistent to put down his carriage and horses, she 

fpt a pair of stilts, and paraded in the mud before 
is windows, till she induced him to buy another 

I now proceed with the extracts from the Memoirs, 
which I have endeavoured to arrange chronologically. 

11 1 was always, as I am now, full of activity, from 
my infancy. At two years old, I made a little hat. 
You know there was a kind of straw hat with the 
crown taken out, and in its stead a piece of satin was 
put in, all puffed out. Well, I made myself a hat like 
that, and it was thought such a thing for a child of 
two years to do, that my grandpapa had a little paper 
box made for it, and had it ticketed with the day of the 
month and my age. 

" Just before the French Revolution broke out, the 
Ambassador from Paris to the English Court was 
Count d'Adhemar. This nobleman had some influence 
on my fate as far as regarded my wish to go abroad, 

1 This was perhaps hardly worth contradicting. She tells of the 
puddings that it required two men to carry ; barons of beef on the 
same magnificent scale ; of the rigid etiquette observed by the house- 
hold ; of the scissors that Lady Stanhope kept for cutting off the 
prohibited curls of the housemaids ; the rod with which she chastised 
them, &c. 

1776-1803] CHEVENING 7 

which, however, I was not able to gratify until many 
years afterwards. I was but seven or eight years old 
when I saw him j 1 and when he came by invitation to 
pay a visit to my papa at Chevening, there was such 
a fuss with the fine footmen with feathers in their 
hats, and the Count's bows and French manners, and 
I know not what, that, a short time afterwards, when 
I was sent to Hastings with the governess and my 
sisters, nothing would satisfy me but I must go and 
see what sort of a place France was. So I got into a 
boat one day unobserved, that was floating close to 
the beach, let loose the rope myself, and off I went. 
Yes, Doctor, I literally pushed a boat off, and meant 
to go, as I thought, to France. Did you ever hear of 
such a mad scheme ? 

" But I was tired of all those around me, who, to all 
my questions, invariably answered, ' My dear, that is 
not proper for you to know ' ; or, ' You must not talk 
about such things till you are older,' and the like. So 
I held my tongue ; but I made up for it by treasuring 
up everything I heard or saw. 

" How well I remember what I was made to suffer 
when I was young! and that's the reason I have 
sworn eternal warfare against Swiss and French 
governesses. Nature forms us in a certain manner, 
both inwardly and outwardly, and it is in vain to 
attempt to alter it. One governess at Chevening had 
our backs pinched in by boards that were drawn tight 
with all the force the maid could use ; and as for me, 
they would have squeezed me to the size of a puny 
Miss a thing impossible ! My instep, by nature so 
high that a little kitten could walk under the sole of 
my foot, they used to bend down in order to flatten 

1 She was thirteen in 1789, and surely more than two years old 
when she made her hat. 


it, although that is one of the things that shows my 
high breeding. Nature, Doctor, makes us one way, 
and man is always trying to fashion us in another. 

" But nature was entirely out of the question with 
us ; we were left to the governesses. Lady Stanhope 
got up at 10 o'clock, went out, and then returned to be 
dressed, if in London, by the hairdresser ; and there 
were only two in London, both of them Frenchmen, 
who could dress her. Then she went out to dinner, 
and from dinner to the Opera, and from the Opera to 
parties, seldom returning until just before daylight. 
Lord Stanhope was engaged in his philosophical pur- 
suits ; and thus we children saw neither the one nor 
the other. Lucy used to say that if she had met her 
step-mother in the streets she should not have known 
her. Why, my father once followed to our own door 
in London a woman who happened to drop her glove, 
which he picked up. It was our governess ; but, as 
he had never seen her in the house, he did not know 
her in the street. . . . 

" I can recollect, when I was ten or twelve years 
old, going to Hastings' trial. My garter somehow 
came off, and was picked up by Lord Grey, then a 
young man. At this hour, as if it were before me in 
a picture, I can see before me his handsome, but very 
pale face, his broad forehead ; his corbeau coat, with 
cut-steel buttons; his white satin waistcoat and 
breeches; and the buckles in his shoes. He saw 
from whom the garter fell ; but, observing my con- 
fusion, did not wish to increase it, and with infinite 
delicacy gave the garter to the person who sat there 
to serve tea and coffee. . . . 

" Mr. Pitt never liked Griselda ; and she stood no 
better in the opinion of my father, who bore with 
Lucyah ! just in this way. He would say to her, 

1776-1803] CHEVENING 9 

to get rid of her, ' Now, papa is going to study, so 
you may go to your room '; then, when the door was 
shut, he would turn to me, ' Now, we must talk a little 
philosophy,' and then, with his two legs stuck upon 
the sides of the grate, he would begin. ' Well, well,' 
he would cry, after I had talked a little, ' that is not 
bad reasoning, but the basis is bad.' 

" My father always checked my propensity to finery 
in dress. If any of us happened to look better than 
usual in a particular hat or frock, he was sure to have 
it put away the next day, and to have something 
coarse substituted in its place." 

The three girls were allowed to go out hunting, to 
Lady Hester's keen delight and enjoyment. She was 
never so happy as on horseback, and became a very 
fine horsewoman, which, in after years, greatly con- 
tributed to her popularity with the Arab tribes. 

" I remember, when Colonel Shadwell commanded 
the district, that one day in a pelting shower of rain 
he was riding up Madamscourt Hill as I was crossing 
at the bottom, going home towards Chevening. I 
saw Colonel Shadwell's groom's horse about a couple 
of hundred yards from me, and, struck with its beauty, 
I turned up the hill, resolving to pass them and get a 
good look at it. I accordingly quickened my pace, 
and in going by gave a good look at the horse, then 
at the groom, then at the master, who was on a sorry 
nag. The Colonel eyed me as I passed, and I, taking 
advantage of a low part in the hedge, put my horse to 
it, leaped over, and disappeared in an instant. The 
Colonel found out who I was, and afterwards made 
such a fuss at the mess about my equestrian powers 
that nothing could be like it. I was the toast there 
every day. 

11 Nobody ever saw much of me until Lord Romney's 


review. I was obliged to play a trick on my father to 
get there. I pretended the day before that I wanted 
to pay a visit to the Miss Crumps " (or some such 
name), " and then went from their house to Lord 
Romney's. Though all the gentry of Kent were there, 
my father never knew, or was supposed to have 
known, that I had been there. The King took great 
notice of me. I dined with him that is, what was 
called dining with him, but at an adjoining table. 
Lord and Lady Romney served the King and Queen, 
and gentlemen waited on us. Upton changed my 
plate, and he did it very well. Doctor, dining with 
royalty, as Lord Melbourne does now, was not 
so common formerly. I never dined with the King 
but twice once at Lord Romney's at an adjoining 
table, and once afterwards at his own table. Oh ! 
what wry faces there were among the courtiers ! Mr. 
Pitt was very much pleased at the reception I met 
with. The King took great notice of me, and, I 
believe, always liked me personally. Whenever I was 
talking to the Dukes he was sure to come towards us. 
1 Where is she ? ' he would cry ; ' where is she ? I 
hear them laugh, and where they are laughing I must 
go too.' Then, as he came nearer, he would observe, 
' If you have anything to finish, I won't come yet I'll 
come in a quarter of an hour.' When he was going 
away from Lord Romney's he wanted to put me bod- 
kin between himself and the Queen ; and when the 
Queen had got into the carriage, he said to her, ' My 
dear, Lady Hester is going to ride bodkin with us. I 
am going to take her away from Democracy Hall.' 
But the old Queen observed, in rather a prim manner, 
that I ' had not got my maid with me, and that it 
would be inconvenient to go at such a short notice.' 
So I remained." 


She appears to have taken the offer quite seriously. 

" It was at that review that I was talking to some 
officers, and something led to my saying, ' I can't bear 
men who are governed by their wives, as Sir A. H. is. 
A woman of sense, even if she did govern her husband, 
would not let it be seen ; it is odious, in my opinion.' 
And I went on in this strain, whilst poor Sir A. him- 
self, whom I did not know, but had only heard spoken 
of, was standing by all the time. I saw a dreadful 
consternation in the bystanders ; but I went on. At 
last some one taking commiseration on him, I sup- 
pose said, ' Lady Hester, will you allow me to intro- 
duce Sir A. H. to you, who is desirous of making 
your acquaintance.' Sir A. very politely thanked me 
for the advice I had given him, and I answered some- 
thing about the regard my brother had for him ; and 
there the matter ended." 

I have not yet spoken of Lady Hester's brothers (or 
rather half-brothers), my grandmother's three sons 
Philip Henry, my father, who succeeded as fourth 
Earl, Charles, and James. They were never sent 
either to school or to college, but brought up with 
their sisters at home and taught by their father's 
secretary. This was Mr. Joyce, the author of Scientific 
Dialogues. But their studies were interrupted by nis 
trial for high treason, for which he was arrested in my 
grandfather's house. Lady Hester was devoted to 
these brothers, and rendered signal service to the 
eldest by planning his escape from his painful position 
at home. She and her sisters had first set the 

Of these the youngest and fairest, Lady Lucy, a 
beautiful girl then barely sixteen, had been married 
by her father in 1796 to a country surgeon practising 
in the neighbourhood. Lady Griselda left home in 
the same year, taking refuge in a cottage at Walmer, 
lent to her by Mr. Pitt. Four years afterwards she 
became the wife of John Tekell, an officer in the army. 
Lady Hester remained at Chevening till 1800, when 


she went to live with her grandmother, Lady Chatham, 
at Burton Pynsent, in Somersetshire. 

My grandfather offered no opposition to his 
daughters' departures, though, when Lady Griselda 
left, he was heard to compare himself to Lear, quoting 
the line (certainly applicable), " I never gave thee 
kingdoms." But he kept strict watch and ward over 
his eldest son, all the stricter as he approached his 
majority, when he would have power to cut off the 
entail, and make fresh arrangements. He had, as I 
have already said, never been sent either to school or 
college, but kept immured at home, without a single 
advantage, or chance of improving himself, " in a 
situation " (to quote his own words) " of all others the 
most odious and oppressive." He bitterly deplored 
the loss of the wasted years, passing away unheeded 
over his head, that should have been employed in 
fitting him to take his place in the world. At length, 
in 1801, he determined to attempt to shake off the 
yoke, having then just entered his twentieth year. He 
asked to be sent to college, and made proposals 
regarding the entail, 1 but they were unacceptable, and 
he found, to his dismay, that his father's object was to 
obtain the power of disposing of the estate. This 
would have meant his own ruin. In his distress, he 
opened his heart to Lady Hester, who eagerly espoused 
his cause, vowed she would extricate him from his 
cruel position, and loyally kept her word. She alone 
contrived and effected his escape from his father's 
house, who, " now," as she writes in triumph, "may 
make Chevening frightful by destroying the timber, 
but, without Mahon's consent, cannot further injure 
the estate." In a letter to Lord Glastonbury (to be 
shown to all the other Grenville cousins), she describes 
how she accomplished it. 

" Money, you know, was a very essential article ; 
that has been liberally supplied by Sir Francis Bur- 
dett, though he chose to be ignorant of the plan it 
was to be adopted for, and gave it into the hands of a 
third person. Mr. Jackson (the diplomatic Jackson) 
got Mahon's letters of credit made out and provided 

1 These proposals had been drawn out for him by Mr. Pitt. 

1776-1803] BURTON PYNSENT 13 

him with a passport. He is gone abroad, in order 
to be placed at a foreign university at Erlang, under 
the care of Professor Breyer, a man of great ability, 
and most extensive knowledge. Mr. J., who, from once 
residing there, is perfectly acquainted with their 
characters, has furnished him with letters of particular 
recommendation not only to the Professor, but to the 
first people of the place, and is on terms of great 
friendship with the Margravine, 1 who, I understand, is 
the best sort of woman in the world, and keeps a 
little court. Therefore, Mahon will not only have 
information within his reach, but enjoy the best 
society of that place. I must tell you Mahon has 
taken a feigned name, which was judged more 
prudent, for many reasons, than his bearing his own. 
Nothing could be more handsome than the manner in 
which Mr. Jackson has acted in this business, not 
only in the friendship he has shown Mahon by the 
great interest he has taken in his concerns, but by 
the advice and assistance he has afforded him in the 
most minute things, which was particularly fortunate, 
as Mahon was perfectly ignorant of the world, and 
everything which relates to travelling ; but, however, 
with Mr. J.'s directions, he has got on wonderfully 
well. Mahon has a man with him, in capacity of a 
servant, whose fidelity I can rely on ; this man, with 
directions from me, accomplished Mahon's escape 
from Chevening most astonishingly, for, though he 
was pursued in a few hours, no tidings could be had, 
and till this moment they have never been able to 
trace him one step. Fearing what the possible effects 
and mortification might have upon the female members 
of the family he had deserted, as soon as I knew he 
was safe out of the country, I wrote to my father's 
1 Of Brandenburg-Baireuth, who resided at Erlangen. 


lawyer to desire he would inform them that Mahon 
was gone abroad, that he was in good hands, and 
nothing was to be apprehended for his personal 
safety ; but to make it plain to them that no further 
intelligence in future should ever be had of me con- 
cerning him ; yet, should they be at a loss to send him 
any letter, if they would forward it to me I would 
take care it reached him safe. ... I have received the 
most satisfactory accounts of my brother ; the last, 
dated the 3rd of March, from Hamburgh ; the descrip- 
tion he gives of his journey is admirable. His 
astonishment, his happiness, and gratitude to his 
friends, is expressed so naturally and with so much 
feeling, it is quite delightful. Dear fellow ! if he had 
been ten times my own brother I could not have been 
more anxious, more interested about him. I wish 
poor dear Mrs. Grenville 1 was but alive, and read 
those letters I have referred to. Charming, charming, 
incomparable Mahon ! But I must not depart from 
business. I am sure it will be unnecessary, my dear 
Lord, for me to point out to you how essential it is 
that the place of Mahon's abode, and the names of his 
deliverers, should be kept a profound secret ; of course 
I mean merely confided to his own family. On their 
goodness of mind I rely in his meeting with indulgence, 
and that they will be pleased at finding a young man, 
brought up both with the worst public and private 
principles, still adhering to those which have so much 
distinguished various branches of the family he be- 
longs to." 

She further promised that Lord Chatham should 
forward to him a letter from her brother, containing 
" a formal statement of what passed between him 
and his father before he left Chevening. I think it 

1 His grandmother. 

1776-1803] BURTON PYNSENT 15 

will be unnecessary for me, either to enter upon a 
justification of conduct which requires none, or to 
anticipate your opinion upon the subject, particularly 
when you have read the letter I allude to, which does 
equal credit to heart and understanding." 

A copy of this statement was sent to her relations 
in Scotland, 1 to whom she also wrote ; and Lord Had- 
dington, in his reply, takes the opportunity of giving 
her some excellent advice. 

Lord Haddington to Lady Hester 

" I am truly happy that your brother is in all proba- 
bility comfortably and advantageously settled, and I 
have no doubt he will prove everything his friends 
can wish, both in public and private life. . . . Your 
grandmother, Lady Stanhope, has not written to me 
since your brother's departure, nor I to her. She 
was in the habit of writing to me from time to time 
kind letters of enquiry, but at no time confiden- 
tially. . . . Your dear mother, of whom you can have 
but a faint remembrance, if at all ... was a woman 
rarely to be met with, wise, temperate, and prudent, by 
nature cheerful and without levity, a warm friend, and 
free from all the petty vices that attend little minds. 
I am sure if she could now communicate her ideas, her 
advice to you would be to act steadily, without fear, 
when you had well considered what was to be done ; 
to do all the good within your reach in the present 
circumstances of your family, and when it should seem 
helpless and out of reach, to preserve as much as 
possible a prudent silence to all but tried friends. . . ." 

Lady Hester to Lord Haddington 

" I think I am not like Grandmama Stanhope, as I 
have troubled you sufficiently with my family affairs. 

1 Her grandfather, Philip, second Earl, had married Grizel Hamil- 
ton, sister of Thomas, seventh Earl of Haddington, and a grand- 
daughter of the famous Lady Grizel Baillie. 

1 6 "THE LOGICIAN" [CH. i 

Lady Chatham desires I will name her kindly to you. 
She has taken away my letter, or rather expressed a 
wish to keep it, from the character it contains of my 
dear mother. You have no idea what a sweet, amiable 
creature my cousin Harriet Eliot * is, and what friends 
we are." 

, She was not so fond of receiving advice as of 
giving it, but she appreciated Lord Haddington's. 
" I have lately," she tells Mr. Jackson, " received the 
prettiest and most sensible letter in the world from 
Lord Haddington " ; then, after quoting it, she adds, 
" Vastly good advice, I think ; and I am vastly glad 
he takes things thus." 

One of her principal objects had been to guard the 
two younger brothers who remained in thraldom from 
any suspicion of having abetted or known of my 
father's escape. " For if some precautions are not 
taken," she writes, " they will be flogged to death to 
make them confess what they are really ignorant of." 
Her father's outburst of fury at finding himself tricked, 
proved, however, less formidable than she had anti- 
cipated. " The ' Logician ' " (her nickname for him) 
" often has said that from the hour I was born I had 
been a stranger to fear. I certainly felt no fear when 
he held a knife to my throat only pity for the arm 
that held it ; but this was a sort of feeling I should 
rather not again experience ; therefore the understand- 
ing that he remains quiet, and employs others, is a 
great satisfaction to me. Otherwise I should be in 
some dread of seeing him here and going through 
some of those scenes which I have unfortunately so 
often before witnessed. But I would rather stand a 
dozen of them than that his suspicions should fall 
right." He expressed sorrow as well as anger, and 
my poor grandmother was in deep affliction. 

Lady Hester forwarded a copy of the statement she 
had sent to Lord Glastonbury (see p. 12) to the family 
lawyer, Mr. Murray, for his inspection, saying that 
her brother had written it 

1 The daughter of her mother's sister, Lady Harriet Pitt, the wife 
of the Honourable Edward Eliot, eldest son of Lord Eliot of St. 
Germans. She died in child-bed in 1786. 


" To show to those persons I may wish his conduct to 
appear to in a proper light. 1 . . . Now let me ask, 
what could he have done, in this case, better than 
what he has ? Reasoning was in vain ! Had he con- 
tinued at Chevening, this was his prospect, to have 
continued to live the unhappy and unprofitable life he 
has borne for so many years ; when he came of age, to 
be persecuted to cut off the entail, which, had he still 
refused to comply with, his life would have been made 
more wretched than ever ; at one-and-twenty to have 
only begun to have thought of shifting for himself, and 
applying to his friends. From want of instruction he 
could not have been put forward in the world ; this 
would have been a great disadvantage, which will not 
now exist. As to having agreed to his father's pro- 
posals respecting the entail, no person could dream of 
his doing an act so replete with folly, indeed, I may 
say madness, as to ruin himself by giving his father 
unlimited power over his future property, which he 
would most undoubtedly have disposed of in the most 
absurd and unwarrantable manner ; and certainly 
have taken out of the country, as I have frequently 
heard him declare he would do, if he could obtain the 
power. . . . How distressing it is for each branch of 
his family in turn to take up arms against him in their 
own defence! Bad as things have been, I have cer- 
tainly no reason to complain ; on the contrary, to be 
thankful that they have turned out as they have, all 
things considered. Lucy provided for, Mr. Tekell's 
situation so much improved by his late employment, 2 
Mahon in the hands of friends, who must be powerful, 
as you may suppose, to have taken upon their hands 
a youth without a shilling. Yet all this does not pre- 

1 I have found no copy of this statement. 

2 In both cases through the kindness of Mr. Pitt. 


1 8 MR. T. J. JACKSON [CH. i 

vent a wish existing that my father, for his own sake, 
would think better of his conduct, because he does not 
know in what manner it may be investigated when 
Mahon comes of age. How much it will become the 
topic of conversation in the world, and what disgrace 
it will for ever reflect upon him! Besides, by his mode 
of proceeding, he is entirely depriving himself of all 
domestic comfort. . . . Lord Lansdowne, his great 
friend, has taken decided part against him. He not 
only made every offer of protection to my brother, 
when I named to him at Bath his escape, but has since 
written to me to desire I would assure Mahon of his 
earnest good wishes, and to say that if his name could 
be of any use to him (while abroad) it was at his com- 
mand, as well as any other service he could possibly 
render him at any time. Lord L., though he truly pities 
my father, sees things in a right light, and knows that 
opposing his conduct is the only likely way of inducing 
him to change it, and make him see he is wrong." 

Lady Hester was deeply grateful to Mr. Jackson for 
all he had done to help her brother, who personally 
was an entire stranger to him ; and she kept up a 
close correspondence with this kind and valued friend 
for the next eight years. He preserved her letters, 
and in 1862 his widow handed them over to my 
brother. I will give some extracts from them : 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


" January, 1801 

" The Duke of York, Colonels Fitzgerald and Taylor, 
the Duchess, Lady Ann Smith, and my old friend and 
great favourite Cullen (Charles), are arrived. I expect 
the latter every moment. I wish you were here now. 
Bath might, perhaps, turn out as pleasant as it did 
five years ago. My present physician says he hopes 
I shall be able to go back to Burton in a fortnight ; 

1776-1803] BATH BURTON PYNSENT 19 

that I must avoid being in town till late in the spring, 
and till I am perfectly recovered. I have, therefore, 
taken the determination to divert my thoughts by 
travelling. I shall stay a short time at Burton, then 
go into Northamptonshire, and then to Newmarket 
for the Spring Meeting, which is the first week in 
April. All this change of scene, and the weight (which 
more than thanks to you) will be taken off my mind, 
will, I trust, set me quite up again, if I am intended in 
future to be good for anything." 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 

" BATH, 

" February 2nd, 1801. 

" I have been out to-day with two delightful men. 
One of them added his wife to the party, which was 
an improvement, as she is a sweet creature. You can- 
not wonder her husband is a favourite, when he sells 
three-year-old colts for 300 guineas, and that he thinks 
favourably of me ; for, poor creature as I am, I rode 
a horse of his over a new-made hedge, a down leap 
into the road, which quite won his heart. The other 
is a clergyman, one of the first sportsmen in England, 
and the dear friend of the chiefs of the Melton Hunt ; 
and is so gentleman-like, so good-natured and agree- 
able, that he is a prime favourite, and among the very 
few men I have seen most likely to make a woman 
happy. His future wife might be jealous if she heard 
me say this ; if so, she is narrow-minded and unworthy 

of him." 


"March %th, 1801. 

" 1 must thank you for your last long letter, and say 
how much pleasure it gives me that you think thus 
highly of Mahon. The praises of my horse I formerly 
greatly preferred to my own ; but now my whole 
ambition is centred in my brother's turning out well. 


" There is one thing I must ask your opinion about. 
In a letter a few days ago from Lady Campbell, she 
says : ' Ramsay is at Vienna ' ; and she hopes, as 
Mahon is on the Continent, they will meet. Now do 
you think Ramsay can be of any use or advantage to 
Mahon ? Because I would write to him if you thought 
so, for Ramsay is one of my oldest friends. Grand- 
mama Stanhope brought up his sisters before I was 
born ; and I believe when Ramsay was sent to school, 
it was the first sorrow I ever felt, because he was my 
playfellow, and, though so much older, condescended 
to play with a little creature. He first went to school 
at Sevenoaks, then at Westminster, and then to 
college ; but during my grandfather's life Chevening 
was always his home. When he went into the army he 
ceased to want one, which, all things considered, was 
rather lucky. For his poor horses, which still remained 
there, occasionally at least, were not treated with the 
same kindness everything which belonged to him once 
experienced. . . . My sisters tell me that her Ladyship 
has been writing lamentable accounts to her cousin, 
Sir H. Hawley, and that he is rather of her side ; but 
this I care nothing about. . . . Lady Stanhope has 
also tried Sir J. Banks, but I was even with her, being 
very much acquainted with a friend of his. Through 
him Sir J. was set quite right on the subject, which he 
is now greatly interested in. I never in the course of 
my life was upon the look-out for money, but in this 
one instance. Lady Stanhope, from Sir J. Banks having 
no children, is his presumptive heir. But he may 
leave his fortune to whom he pleases. My great wish 
is that my darling Charles, his godson, should come 
in for a share of his riches, and therefore it is important 
he should know their situation. A second brother, 
without a profession, little application, but the finest 

1776-1803] BURTON PYNSENT 21 

mind, the most noble and generous spirit in the world, 
money would be well bestowed upon. Charles is by 
nature my favourite, though he has the least ability of 
the three, but a degree of openness and good-nature 
which wins every heart, and an air of nobility his 
quizzical education cannot destroy ; for in the black- 
smith's forge ' he looks like a gentleman. He is 
beyond everything popular in the county, and two 
years ago, with a little of my assistance, the farmers 
kept him a small pack of harriers, which the good 
people knew nothing of. ... I feel tolerably well pro- 
tected from the rioters, since a detachment of the i5th 
Light Dragoons are come to our assistance. Two or 
three corps of Quizzes are going to be broke for their 
gallant conduct of late. Expense to no purpose from 
beginning to end, except to make people laugh, that is 
all the use they have ever been of." 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


"March loth, 1801. 

11 1 had much conversation with the Marquis" (of 
Buckingham) " at Bath, and when I pretended to be 
ignorant of Mahon's fate, he told me that if I could 
possibly discover him, he requested I would offer 
Mahon his protection, and tell him that under his roof 
he should ever find a home. He said he would not 
offer to be a mediator, because he knew that reasoning 
was in vain, but that he would take any step I might 
point out to him as likely to be serviceable. I thanked 
him, and said all I believed he could do would be, in 
case Lord S. should make any complaints to him, to 
ask him if he had not some reproaches to make him- 

1 My grandfather, in pursuance of his plan of education, had 
apprenticed him to a blacksmith. James, I believe, was to have 
been a shoemaker. 


self, respecting his conduct to his son, that the step 
he had taken was the natural consequence of it, and 
that he had only himself to blame. That in order to 
secure the affections of his other sons, he should 
recommend to him a change in his conduct towards 
them, or they might also follow their brother's 
example ; and a great deal more of this sort of thing, 
he promised to say. ... I wish Dumont would tell 
George, for want of further information, what high 
favour I am in with his Lordship, and that he had 
employed a young artist to take my picture, which I 
should have been betrayed into, 1 had it not been for 
my maid, who discovered the commission, which he 
was much too full of, as well as the old Marquis's 
nonsense, to keep to himself. He chose a happy 
moment to have the likeness of a dying saint or 
sinner. ... I have torn off part of Charles Baillie's 
letter (enclosed) which talks of his children, and so 
on, because you would laugh, and have no idea that 
so handsome a man can be so domestic a creature." 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


" March ijth, 1801. 

" I am vastly sorry you have had so much trouble 
about the money. As I have often said, I never could 
discover but one fault in my friend's" (Sir Francis 
Burdett) " character, compiled of a peculiar talent for 
making jumbles, with a vast share of absence and 
inattention. As for his brother" (William Jones Bur- 
dett) "one had as well attempt to catch a bird upon 
the wing; and as for writing to him, if a letter reaches 
him in a week I think it a fortunate traveller, for it 
will probably have been at fifty places, unless perad- 
1 She had a rooted objection to sitting for her picture. 

1776-1803] BURTON PYNSENT 23 

venture it halted in the pocket of the elder, which 
latterly has annoyed me so much that the last I wrote 
to him was in form as large as a Secretary of State's 
despatch, which I thought might prevent its being so 
detained, as its companions would probably expel it 
upon the system of equality. Now, what do you say 
to my thus quizzing my best friends ? But after all 
I have no doubt but that it was this talent which 
originally made them such. Indeed, I am sure of it. 
... A Genevese watchmaker is sure that he met 
Mahon a fortnight ago in St. James Street. It is all 
so good, so vastly good ! " 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


"March igth, 1801. 

" Mahon says he bought a travelling carriage at 
Cuxhaven for ten guineas, which is very strong and 
convenient a pretty sort of quiz it must be. He does 
not like going so slow, not much above two miles an 
hour. . . . Grandmama is quite delighted with the 
account he gives of himself and of his happiness. 
You have no idea of the terms of gratitude he ex- 
presses towards his friends who have thus liberated 
him. He is anxious to get to Erlang to pursue his 
studies ; nothing, he adds, shall equal his application." 


" March loth, 1801. 

"The Scotch clan have been all kindness and 
civility; but my Marquis as yet outdoes them all. I 
had such a letter from him when he returned me the 
Cuxhaven letter" (from her brother), "first saying the 
honour all this reflected upon Mahon, and contrived 
to bring me in for a share of it, but how I cannot 
exactly tell, for he does not know how I am concerned 
in it ; but I suppose he has a shrewd guess, but that 


is neither here nor there. . . . Lord Glastonbury is 
trustee, 1 vastly clever, and vastly good, but has 10,000 
fiddle-faddles and quirks, and I daresay is in an agony 
for fear he should get into some scrape ; and besides, 
he is not well, and is vastly nervous at this moment, 
so much so that I have had a fine prose from him 
about my health, and desiring me not to ride, for he 
will take it into his head that it has half killed me, 
when I was never so well in my life as when I rode 
for years at least twenty miles a day, and often forty. 

"Thank you very much for enquiring after me. I 
am tolerable, but as Mr. Elwes would say, ' quite out 
of condition'; and for me to attempt the dissipation 
of London would be something like running a horse 
that had not been in training, a vastly bad thing both 
for the poor horse and the spectators. As for going 
to balls to see my Lady Agnes, 2 or to other charming 
things, and not be the gayest of the gay, would be as 
painful as impossible to me. It is not that I am either 
vapourish or have a sulky fit upon me, but I wish to 
see how things turn out before I think of amusement, 
and upon their decision will greatly depend perhaps 
how far I am capable of enjoying it." 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


''"March 31 st, 1801. 

" We have sad riotous doings here ; mobs every day 
all round the country. The women are the worst ; 
they put a rope about a farmer's neck a few days ago, 
and threatened to tighten it if he did not instantly sign 
a paper to promise to sell his corn at los. a bushel, 
which of course he did, and so have many others. 

1 Of my grandmother's marriage settlement. 

* There are many allusions in the letters to this lady, with whom 
Mr. Jackson was presumed to be in love. 

1776-1803] BURTON PYNSENT 25 

Certainly the farmers' conduct is shameful, and people 
cannot starve ; but if the mob once begin to regulate 
the price of provisions it will not stop there. 

" My military spirit always despised as well as 
opposed the Volunteer Associations : first, because 
they were quizzical; and secondly, because I was 
sure they would be useless, if not mischievous. The 
first, hereabouts they have completely proved. Some 
refused to act at all ; others wished to go over to the 
mob, but were prevented and their arms taken from 
them; this though was only a few individuals. But 
the worst of all was a troop of Yeoman Cavalry, being 
called out to quell a riot obeyed very readily ; but the 
mob surrounded the Captain the moment they arrived 
at the place of destination, and all the rest galloped 
away ; and if it had not been for the regulars, and his 
signing the paper they wished, I do not know what 
would have become of the poor gentleman. Now, what 
do you say to this ; and am I not extremely civil when 
I know I am not addressing one of the delightful 
loth Light Dragoons, though a Light Horseman? . . . 

" Don't say bore another time, because what interests 
you (though it might not please me) can never do that. 
Nor can I see why public tranquillity should be so 
nearly allied to private concerns, because the greater 
row there is in the world the more people will be 
wanted to set it all to rights again, and when it is not 
play fools stand less chance of being employed. I 
hope you admire this logical reasoning." 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


" April I4//&, 1801. 

" Mahon writes in high spirits. Says he is much 
pleased with the Professor (who in fact is an excellent 


creature, and having travelled a good deal is more a 
man of the world than the generality of Professors), 
that he was entered at the University and was forth- 
with to begin his studies. He had been introduced 
to the Margravine, and had dined with her. . . . 

'' The Margravine writes me a long letter, and 
begins with her benediction for having saved a young 
plant (as she calls Mahon) from the infernal principles 
of Jacobinism. She expresses herself in the highest 
terms of approbation of him, and her surprise (she is 
an admirable judge on this point) at the ease and 
manliness of his address and manners. This surprise 
originates, of course, in what I had told her of his 
style of life at home. He seems to be quite familiar 
in French, and promises a rapid progress in German. 
The old lady concludes, ' Enfin, je vous promets que 
nous en ferons un sujet utile et honnete.' " 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


"April I4/A, 1 80 1. 

" What glorious news ! * I think croaking will 
soon be at an end. Poor Riou, what fun I once had 
aboard his ship ! Peace to the souls of the heroes 
who fell in battle. Drummond's trunks and boxes 
oh, excellent ! I hope Persia was of the party, detest- 
able as they tell me. I hate him. He calls me ' Bac- 
chante,' and is always quoting the Lord knows what. 

" Thanks for your news. 2 I have been going to be 
married fifty times in my life; said to have been 
married half as often, and run away with once. But 

1 The Battle of the Baltic, fought on April 2nd, in which Lord 
Nelson destroyed the Danish fleet. 

1 Mr. Jackson had written from London : " In point of chat, we 
hear only of a few marriages about to be, . . . and the last, not the 
least, Lady Hester Stanhope to Mr. Methuen, junior, of Corsham. 
You shall have my congratulations, but, upon Lord Lyttelton's plan, 
when they become due." 


provided I have my own way, the world may have 
theirs and welcome. . . . How violent the Baronet " 
(Burdett) " has been in the house lately ! Oh, fie ! he 
wants a lecture." 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 

" April igt/i, 1801. 

" Oh ! delightful, charming ! this evening's post has 
not only brought me your letter, but a volume from Mr. 
Pitt. I did not tell you, but I had written to him a few 
days ago, being rather tired of suspense ; 1 and he says 
he received my letter and Mahon's at the same time. 
Mr. Pitt speaks in the highest terms of approbation 
of all that has been done, which pleases me mightily, 
and gives me every assurance that both now and 
hereafter he will do everything in his power for dear 
Mahon. I was all sure of that; but still it pleases 
me vastly to hear it repeated, and to know that he 
has seen you, because things will go on well now. He 
likewise appears to be so happy and well ; for he says 
that what with the luxury of living with his friends 
and the improvement in public affairs, his only appre- 
hension will be that of growing too fat for horseman's 
weight, at least as a companion in my rides. I cer- 
tainly shall do much wiser to keep to my intention of 
seeing a good deal of him this summer, than allow 
myself to be hitched into the dissipation of a camp, 
instead of enjoying his society, from which I shall 
derive much more rational pleasure and more profit. 
How instinct taught me to love this ' Great Man,' and 
if I had not kept sight of him, at a distance, what 
would have become of us all ? He means to come 
here in the summer. ... I shall burn the letters 
Mahon told me he should enclose for his Scotch 

1 Regarding Mr. Pitt's opinion as to her brother's escape from 


relations, except the one for Binning. He is a charm- 
ing young man, 1 though older than Mahon, a very 
proper friend for him ; and I have very great regard 
for his father and mother, the latter, sister to Lady 
Jane Dundas. The two Baillies, not being of Mahon's 
standing, though fine young men in themselves, will 
never be companions for him, and I do not know it 
would be altogether to his advantage, as they are 
at least George dreadfully wild. Charles, since he 
married, has thought better of it." 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


(the house of her sister Lucy), 

"June 2nd, 1801. 

" I hardly expected to see you here, because I took 
it for granted you were much engaged at this moment ; 
yet as Sunday is rather an idle day, and knowing you 
would not particularly regret your ride in the park, 
I thought, had the weather been fine, you might 
possibly have taken a gallop this way. . . . Should 
anything particular occur in conversation with the 
1 Great Man' on the morning. you receive this, which 
at all presses you should be informed of, I will leave 
a note for you as I go out of town. But I shall not 
let you off without coming here before I depart for 
the North (oh, charming, delightful scheme, better than 
fifty balls), because you must see my beautiful sister. 

"Sad weather for reviews. I wish the Prince would 
wait till it was better. Suppose his horse should 
slip up ! " 

1 Afterwards, as Earl of Haddington, First Lord of the Admiralty, 
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, etc. I knew him in his old age, and I, 
too, thought him charming. He confided to me that his first love 
had been his cousin Lucy Stanhope ; and that he had intended to 
propose to her as soon as she was out of the schoolroom. But she 
was married before she left it. 

1776-1803] DAWLISH 29 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


" October i8//;, 1801. 

" I .shall not at this moment take a retrospective 
view of Mahon's concerns, or of my own peregrina- 
tions, but give you the piece of information I longed 
to communicate, viz. : that I may perhaps see Mahon 
before you. Mr. and Mrs. Egerton have only been 
waiting till peace was made to go abroad, which they 
now intend to do next May. They have 'asked me 
to accompany them, and also for Mahon to join us for 
as long or short a time as he may like. They propose 
going through Germany and Switzerland, and to 
winter at either Naples or Florence, and to take Paris 
on f their iway home. They have not yet formally 
announced their intention to their friends old aunts, 
&c., I mean so I do not of course generally speak of 
it. I hasten to tell you for this reason, that I may 
have your candid opinion upon the advantage it would 
be to Mahon, were he to join our party in Italy. 
Should you think him better elsewhere, I would 
gladly give up (happy as his society would make 
me) any claims upon him ; but it strikes me, recom- 
mended as my party would be through me, it would 
be very advantageous to Mahon, for the only difference 
would be that the niece, instead of the nephew, would 
be the bearer of the credentials ' great men ' have to 
bestow. Also, as Mr. and Mrs. E.'s plans depend 
greatly upon me I mean respecting the places they 
visit 1 shall form them a little according to yours, 
for should you be appointed to reside in any place 
we could possibly take in our tour, it would give me 
peculiar satisfaction to visit your Court, and see you 
in all your glory. . . . You will, perhaps, wonder at 
my not having fixed upon more dashing persons for 


companions. In that case we must all have dashed 
away together ; in the present case I shall have perfect 
liberty to act in all respects as is most pleasing to 
myself, and in so doing be certain of pleasing them. 
They want a companion, and I want a nominal 
chaperone. Besides, they are excellent good people ; 
she is very sensible, and he vastly good-natured, but 
vastly shy, and not brilliant ; but, as I do not shine 
through the medium of another person's husband, 
that is of no consequence to me. ... I must tell you 
I have been to Weymouth. The King was so gracious, 
and made me a million of fine speeches upon my 
conduct, &c. The Queen so civil; she waived my 
not having been to Court, and asked me to join one 
of her parties. I have made quite a friendship with 
the Princess Mary, who I think quite unlike the others. 
" I have not room to tell you of the military honours 
I received at camp, and what a great General they 
think me. A whole regiment saluted me (illegible) 
eyes right. Officers' swords dropped. Oh, charming ! " 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


''October 31 j/, 1801. 

"From my heart do I rejoice at your good fortune! l 
Great as it is, it hardly equals your deserts. Glory 
be to thee, oh Minister! but witness it we shall not. 
It is impossible for my friends to leave this country 
before May ; and as everything will appear dull after 
Paris, that we mean to take the last. ... I must not, 
cannot, take up your time further than thanking you 
cordially for sparing a moment to communicate the 
welcome intelligence to me. To hear from you often 
will be out of the question, but I trust I shall now 
1 His appointment as Minister at Berlin. 

1776-1803] DAWLISH LONDON 31 

and then ; in which case you had better direct your 
letters to me at Lord Chatham's, St. James's Square, 
and they will be sent me, be I where I may, and do not 
at least fail of sending me your proper direction, with 
all your honours attached, for surely an '&c. &c.' can 
never explain them all." 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 

" February yd, 1802. 

" I feel shocked at my own ingratitude ! Never 
answered your last kind letter! I wrote to Mahon 
in your strain, and enclosed a letter from higher 
powers to the same effect. But since that time the 
boys have talked of walking off to seek their fortunes 
without a plan. Therefore, to prevent this, one has 
been sent to sea, and the other has a commission, 
which will be made public in a few days. He also 
is going abroad. All has turned out wonderfully, but 
I have been worried to death. The Duke " (of York) 
" has behaved wonderfully. I will write you more 
in full very shortly, when I feel I can breathe. I saw 
them both, and I thought they would have devoured 
me. The little one never shed a tear, but was off to his 
ship the same night. The Captain charmed with him." 


"February i3/#, 1802. 

"You will, I am sure, be happy to hear that all 
goes on well. Charles has a commission in the 
25th Foot, now at Gibraltar, and also he has a letter 
from the Duke's Office to join immediately ; yet he 
has leave to accompany me to Burton, as his health 
is much injured; but I hope he will soon recover. 
I heard to-day from James's Captain (a great friend 
of mine); he says he never had a boy before in his 
ship he was so fond of. They have made a dreadful 
fuss at Chevening; but fear has prevented their 


stirring from that spot. Conceive my joy at having 
Charles as my companion at Burton. Do write to 
me, to wish me success in making him a good soldier. 
Lord C." (Chatham) " says no general officer can do 
it better than myself. This ' My Lord ' has for a 
wonder exerted himself, and since Charles has had 
his commission, he has taken him into his own house. 
He looks in future to an Honble. Aide-de-camp. Inde- 
pendent Honourables do not like to belittle better than 
valets. ... If I may ask a question of you, how is Lord 
Camelford ? I like him better than people do in general, 
and am anxious about him, after the strange reports I 
have heard ; but do not answer if you do not like it." 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


" April 28M, 1802. 

11 As I cannot, my dear friend, welcome your return 
in person, I depute Charles to do it for me ; and at 
the same time give him the opportunity of becoming 
acquainted with one to whom his brother is indebted 
for his present happiness ; which happiness being so 
much connected with the general happiness of us all, 
makes it really necessary that you should be bored 
with our acknowledgments individually. I hope you 
will allow Charles to see as much of you as he can 
during his stay in town, I mean without interfering 
with more important business. You will, I flatter 
myself, not omit giving him your opinion and advice 
on any subject on which it strikes you he requires 
it. ... You will not find him well informed, like 
Mahon ; but he has the noblest mind in the world, 
and what is seldom united, the highest spirit, with the 
reflection of a man twice his age. 

" I shall be in town about the end of next month. 
Remember, should you visit your mother at Bath, I 

1776-1803] BURTON PYNSENT 33 

shall take it quite ill if you do not come to see me 
here, and visit the shades once frequented by my 
illustrious Grandfather." 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 

"May-i-jiti, 1802. 

" I am anxious to talk to you of the dear boys, and 
tell you of my growing passion for the Navy, and of 
the happiness I have lately experienced in seeing the 
little sailor. I am determined to think that this pro- 
fession requires a man to be handsome, elegant, and 
agreeable ; to have genius, as well as understanding. 
Otherwise, I should regret that those qualities are 
likely not to bear their true value, in that sort of life 
this darling little fellow is about to lead. If I were 
to be mast-headed this moment, I could not tell which 
of the three I feel the most interest in ; but certainly 
the future Admiral is the only one calculated to 
interest a stranger. The attentions several Captains 
have shown him, without knowing who he is, suffi- 
ciently prove this. The first long voyage he takes, 
he will bear his own name, which he has not hitherto 
done, neither do any part of the family. . . . Charlie's 
concerns I take for granted you are well acquainted 
with from himself. I long to hear your opinion of 
him ; I know it will be a candid one, therefore will 
have the greater weight. He has really, I think, one 
of the most honourable of characters, but not the 
parts of either of his brothers. With his strong 
affections, and determined spirit, brilliancy perhaps 
(all things considered), he is as well without. The 
very humble idea he has of himself, and the situation 
of his family, so much affecting his mind, and indeed 
often extremely oppressing his spirits, makes me 
always anxious to a degree to encourage him, and 


not suffer him either to feel his misfortunes, or the 
contrast which might be drawn between him and his 
younger brother. One thing about him disturbs me 
a good deal, he could write hardly legibly when he 
came from Chevening ; but now his hand is tolerable, 
yet he cannot spell three words. I know a Member 
of the House of Commons who has very fine abilities, 
but whose education was much neglected early in life, 
and who writes at this moment most abominably. A 
friend of his has often told me that having tried in 
vain to improve himself, he had now given up the 
point, and seldom or ever wrote but to those whose 
indulgence he could rely on. Now should this in 
future be Charles's case, it would be a shocking thing, 
and particularly as he will be, as early as possible, 
made an Aide-de-camp. Do pray give him a little 
advice on the subject ; and put him in the best way 
of improving himself; and persuade him that con- 
fessing his ignorance at a time when it may be 
accounted for, is better than hereafter remaining a 
dunce. To be sure I need not talk in this way, 
because three out of the six have the same fault, more 
or less ; but still it does not prevent my seeing the con- 
sequence it is to a man in particular to write well." l 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


''June 13/7* (1802). 

" And pray who gave you leave to suppose Prince 
William 2 was not admired by me ? Ask Ebrington 
and Hamilton if your ideas are just? Let me then 
inform you, I think your friend a very amiable young 
man, remarkably well-intentioned, acting like a sen- 
sible man, though in appearance not a brilliant one : 

1 Charles certainly profited by these admonitions, for all the letters 
of his that I have seen are well written, and perfectly well spelt. 
Afterwards William IV., "the Sailor King." 

1776-1803] BURTON PYNSENT 35 

and I do flatter myself, had your most excellent plan 
been put in execution, he would have taken a little 
care of the dear midshipman, not even so much on 
your account, as for the sake of a cause which he used 
formerly to profess himself interested in. Now you 
see I can be saucy when you displease me by forming 
a premature judgment upon my opinions. However, 
I ought to feel flattered with the knowledge of their 
agreeing in one respect ; your thinking Dalton a 
proper man to take care of my little fellow, proves 
you must think not ill of wild men, and that you 
cannot be astonished at my thinking so well of Jack, 1 
who, with Dalton, thinks it, I suppose, praiseworthy 
to break all hearts which come in his way. Let me 
think what I may of Dalton, it would even require 
more courage than that which I am possessed of, to 
dare to give my opinion were it an unfavourable one, 
because it is high treason in Kent not to be actually 
smitten with your friend. However, of treason I 
may be acquitted, and only found guilty of sedition, 
for venturing at one period of my life to like a then 
constant companion of Dalton's better than himself; 
but most probably his vanity never led him to make 
this discovery, and therefore I shall be able to get 
rid of any indictment upon this head, which it may 
please my countrywomen to bring against me. Now 
I have waged war a little against you, I must come to 
something like business. ... I certainly (from my 
friends being detained by their business in Cheshire) 
shall not be able to reach town till the very end of 
July. Should you be hurried away, if you do not 
visit me here, I shall not see you at all, and that 
will be inexpressibly provoking ; in short, a thing that 
must not be ; for I have a million of things to say about 
1 Her cousin, Captain Murray, R.N. 


Mahon, because Mr. Pitt did hint at sending him to 
whatever Court you went to, to finish his education ; 
and I want to talk about all this, and many other things. 
" Lady Chatham desires me to say, that if you can 
excuse indisposition preventing her receiving you her- 
self, she shall be very happy to invite you to Burton if 
you can come. . . . Dear Grandmama's health having 
undergone so great a change since I arrived in the 
winter, has been at times the source not only of un- 
easiness, but of melancholy reflection, as when I once 
part with her, I have little chance of ever seeing her 
again. You will see her, only I cannot promise you 
much of her society. ... I have made a fine hurried 
scribble of this, for when returning home from walk- 
ing, I met with a protege of Grandmama's, who is just 
made a Post Captain, and he kept me so long talking 
about Pompey's Pillar (which he has brought me a 
piece of), and his last voyage, and future plans, that I 
have hardly any time before me to write. . . . Whatever 
spell keeps you at Bath will, I trust, be broken by the 
incantations of the little Witches which seal this letter." 

In the following September Lady Hester left England 
with Mr. and Mrs. Egerton. The parting from old 
Lady Chatham must have been very trying. "Grand- 
mama will hardly let me out of her sight," she says 
in one of her letters, " now that she is to lose me so 
soon " ; and both must have felt how uncertain it was 
they should ever meet again. In those days, too, a 
tour on the Continent was somewhat of a formidable, 
if not a venturesome, undertaking, and the amount of 
preparation it entailed would strike a modern traveller 
dumb. Now, whatever quarter of the globe he may 
wish to visit, he has only to " take his tickets," pack 
up, and go. Then, home affairs had to be settled and 
provided for during an absence of many months, " the 
handsomest and most commodious travelling carriage 
that Leader ever built" ordered, servants engaged, 
advice taken as to the safest routes, and lamentable 

1776-1803] TURIN 37 

tales of robberies (" but for these," says Lady Hester, 
" I care nothing ") listened to. Thus it was that eleven 
months had elapsed before Mr. Egerton's project could 
be carried into execution. 

Before joining her travelling companions at Dover, 
Lady Hester paid a visit to Mr. Pitt at Walmer Castle. 
She found him seriously ill l : 

Lady Hester to Mr, T. J. Jackson 

"September 2ist, 1802. 

"Even the illness of my dear uncle has not made 
me quite forget the request you made me; but the 
first thing I must say is that, thank God ! he is quite 
recovered, and if he was to be ill, perhaps my having 
the opportunity of showing him I have talents as a 
nurse is better than his having had to nurse himself. 

" I am enchanted with everything here. I have 
never seen the face of a woman till to-day. Charm- 
ing! nothing but pleasant men. But I leave them 
all on Thursday. 

"Now for the print. Edridge, who lives in some 
street leading out of Cavendish Square, has just made 
a new drawing of Mr. Pitt ; they say very like. 2 My 
favourite is from a picture by Gainsborough, and can 
be had if you give the commission to somebody who 
understands the thing. 

" I am to meet Mahon in three weeks, and he is to 
travel some time with me and return by sea." 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


" October 2$tA, 1802. 

"As far as I can judge, Mahon appears to have 
made great progress in every branch of learning, and 
to be remarkably well versed in the politics of Europe. 

1 " The alarming symptoms, it is true, did not last very long," writes 
his physician ; " but minutes in such a situation I found long hours. 
The day is our own now and the last battle proves that the main- 
springs are good." 

1 My father always maintained it was the best likeness he had ever 


He has the same good heart as ever, but, visibly, has 
been flattered about his abilities, and converses not 
pleasantly too much like a Frenchman out of humour. 
An immense quiz in his dress; but that I have already 
reformed in part. He speaks likewise in his usual 
hurried manner, which he most positively must get 
the better of; indeed, I have no doubt he will, if he 
only takes pains, as he can speak extremely well 
when he likes. This is one of the things most likely 
to annoy Mr. Pitt, and therefore you may imagine 
how he is teazed about it. Here I am, therefore, in 
quite a different character from that which I have 
lately sported. I am for the present grown quite 
steady again ; my head was turning very fast at 
Walmer, but now I am tutor again, and, as I have not 
much time to correct all the faults I wish done away 
with ere my pupil returns to England, I must dedicate 
myself completely to his service for some weeks to 
come. . . . You, perhaps, are sufficiently acquainted 
with my sentiments upon other subjects also to make 
it unnecessary for me to communicate my ideas upon 
what I have witnessed in my travels thus far. The 
crossing Mont Cenis then is the only part I will touch 
upon. I chose my own mule and muleteer, and left 
the rest of the party to their frights and fears. The 
day was divine, and I enjoyed it much ; a regiment of 
horse crossed the mountain that day, which enlivened 
the scene very considerably. I rode the whole way, 
and my mule never made a false step. We arrived 
here two days ago. The town I admire extremely, 
but the inn is abominable, and so dark, that it is quite 
like a prison. ... No English here but Lord Cowper, 
who is going to Florence. . . . Mahon and his great 
black poodle are making such a noise, it is in vain to 
attempt tP write commonsense," 

1776-1803] TURIN NAPLES 39 

Lady Hester to Lord Haddington 


" October 27*%, 1802. 

" You will not, I trust, take it ill that I left England 
without congratulating you and dear Lady Hadding- 
ton on your son's approaching marriage. 1 Being at 
Walmer during Mr. Pitt's illness so completely em- 
ployed my thoughts, that I neglected writing many 
letters I otherwise ought to have written. I have 
remained in perfect ignorance of every transaction 
both in public and in private life since I left England ; 
therefore the marriage I here allude to may very 
probably have taken place. If so, pray transfer to 
the bridegroom Mahon's and my congratulations 
and good wishes. This dear boy joined us at Lyons. 
He has left Germany for good, and proceeds with me 
to Italy, where he will embark for Gibraltar to see 
dear Charles, and then return to England, to see what 
he can make of his affairs. I suppose you know our 
guardian angel has appointed him Lieut.-Governor of 
Dover Castle, which is a very pleasant thing, consider- 
ing who is his neighbour." 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


" December I6//&, 1802. 

" I do not know if the hurried letter I wrote you 
upon the road ever reached you. I sent it to Eng- 
land, because I thought you great men are so fond of 
delays, that in all probability it would find you there, 
always going, and never gone. By this time you must 
have entered on the duties of your station, and I trust 
the ladies at Berlin have the same reason to praise you 
as I have Drummond. 

1 To Lady Maria Parker, daughter of the Earl of Macclesfield. 


" We are now the greatest friends in the world, 
and a most agreeable man he is when one is once 
thoroughly acquainted with him. I know how to 
treat all this learning, which I take in turns to quiz 
and admire. Some days I have no mercy upon him 
his books, his dress, his whims, &c. at other times 
I am all attention and unfeigned admiration of dif- 
ferent works he has not published. The death of 
Scipio, an unfinished tragedy, speaks the finest senti- 
ments, and such as I wish all our rising young men 
felt in their full force. ... I lament to a degree his 
studying from morning till night, as he will kill him- 
self, I fear. However, every moment not dedicated to 
study, my company is hailed with apparent satisfac- 
tion; he walks with me every day, takes me out in 
his carriage, goes to the same parties in the evening ; 
or if at home I go there, which I like of all things in 
the world, for if Mrs. E. has a headache, it has often 
happened for me to have found myself the only woman 
of the party. Some play at cards, a serious sort of 
whist; but out of the great number of Milords 
Anglais, there are plenty of them to talk to ; but the 
real fact is, that I find myself stand so well with D., 
Mr. A'Court, and the amiable little secretary of the 
former, that I rather prefer this party to any of the 
other men. Lord Brooke is vastly handsome, and 
vastly the man of fashion, to be sure. Lord Grantham 
is, they say, very sensible, and is not unpleasing. Sir 
Charles Douglas is very fond of fun, is good-natured 
to a degree, but not so well in point of beauty as he 
seems to think himself. Lord Montague I cannot 
abuse, even if I wished it ; he is so good a soul, and 
so devoid of pretension. Here, then, are the most 
distinguished of our beaux, though Mr. Algernon 
Percy would fain come forward at the head of the 

1776-1803] NAPLES 41 

list ; but I shall put him in the background, as he is 
no favourite of mine. Mr. Hope, Thomas Hope, I 
think needs no description. Now for our gaieties : 
Monday, Lady Neale gives a ball; Tuesday, our 
Excellency, for the first time since he came here ; 
Wednesday, a Russian countess ; Thursday, Mr. Hope, 
another ball; and our young men, something either 
Friday or Saturday. After what I have said of balls, 
you must take it for granted that I am not unhappy 
here ; but I believe you know me well enough to be 
aware it requires a little more than unmeaning dis- 
sipation to make a place pleasant to me. In this, then, 
consists the merit of the place; there is dissipation 
enough to please me (though they call it dull) ; there 
are sensible men to converse with, and handsome 
ones for an escort. I feel perfectly at home, and 
satisfied I cannot do wrong, because Drummond is 
too much interested in my welfare not to give me a 
fine lecture if I did. So I go laughing and talking 
on, and am very happy and very comfortable in every 
respect, only dying to hear from England. It is now 
seven weeks since any courier has arrived here ; but 
Drummond expects one shortly, and then I hope to 
get some letters, as they were all to come that way. 
. . . Mahon left me at Florence on the i6th of Novem- 
ber (I think it was) to embark at Leghorn in the 
Greyhound. . . . ^Here the handsome Mylords inter- 
rupted me on Sunday, and Drummond has since sent 
me a letter, enclosed to him, from Mahon. The Grey- 
hound cannot put to sea, the winds are so contrary ; 
therefore, after having waited eleven days at Leghorn, 
he determined to return home by land. His letter, 
dated the 7th of December (his birthday, you know), 
is a remarkably kind one, in which he begs me to give 
him my opinion of his conduct without reserve, and 


send him every instruction I may think necessary. I 
am pleased with this, as it proves to me he is rather 
changed since we parted, for he then thought no 
person's judgment equal to his own ; in short, to say 
the truth, his conduct disgusted me extremely, and I 
am quite happy to discover that the society of a few 
English at Leghorn has taught him he is not the 
prodigy he thought he was. But all this, like every 
other fault I may see either in his brothers or him- 
self, I can but too easily pardon ; and if I am severe 
towards them, it is only from a wish to see them all 
perfection. . . . Mr. Egerton has been very unlucky 
with his carriage, the cranes have broken twice ; but 
such roads I think nobody yet travelled. ... 1 must 
not finish after all without saying anything half so 
delightful as the views, the country, and the climate, 
no person who has always lived in England can have 
an idea of." 

From these letters it is clear that the once "incom- 
parable Mahon " was rapidly declining in her good 
graces. Her love for her brothers was so essentially 
maternal in its character, that it never struck her as 
absurd for a young woman of twenty-six to act as 
" tutor " to a youth only a few years her junior. Hers 
was the tyranny of affection, that admitted of no 
independence of action or opinion, and tolerated no 
judgment other than her own. She could not under- 
stand that my father, who was then nearly of age, 
and of whose " shining abilities " she speaks in the 
same letter, should claim a right to differ from her. 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


"July 17 th, 1803. 

" My packet from Venice (which I hope reached you 
safe), 1 spoke of my adventures in Italy, and we have 
had nothing else since we left that place. Any reason- 
1 This letter is lost. 

1776-1803] TONNINGEN 43 

able set of beings who had determined to go home 
through Germany would have chosen to take the 
route through the places best worth seeing, more 
especially Vienna and Berlin. Mr. and Mrs. Egerton's 
object was Stuttgard, though neither of them were 
personally recollected by the Electress. This silly 
plan I did not, however, oppose, as I knew what 
reception I was likely to meet with there. Nothing 
could be more kind than the Electress was to me. 
The terms in which she spoke of several branches 
of my family could not fail of pleasing me, and I am 
sure will flatter them much when repeated, particularly 
dear Harriet " (Eliot), " whose mother was the 
Electress' dearest friend, and with whom she used 
to converse about me when I was quite a child, which 
name I still keep with her, as she called me nothing 
else but ' my dear child.' . . . The Elector took himself 
off from Louisburg on pretence of business ; but the 
fact is he does not like the English. The civilities we 
received from Count Jenesson, his first chamberlain, 
were great. I like him extremely, and find it was his 
sister who married William Spencer, whom I have 
so often met at Dartford Lodge and Belvedere. The 
Countess is also a sweet woman, and daughter to 
Lady D. Beauclerk, whose son married my friend 
Mimi Ogilvie. So I felt quite at home amongst them, 
and was constantly at their house during the time we 
remained at Stuttgard. I found it very pleasant, as all 
the foreign Ministers came there without form every 
evening, amongst which was the Russian Minister at 
Erlang, who was all devotion to me an immense 
good sort of flustering quiz, for he was determined 
if possible to make them go to Berlin, as he perceived 
I wished it, though I did not choose to ask them, 
for had they made out their route that way it would 


have been changed by next day. So I preferred 

leaving it to chance. But I own I felt extremely out 

of humour, when less than a hundred miles from a 

place so famed for its gaiety as well as for its military, 

and to be so stupid as not to see it. You see I put you 

and a perfect poodle out of the question, which 1 have 

been dying to get all through Germany, in order to 

present to Mr. Pitt, and have never yet succeeded. . . . 

After the poodle I must talk of that monkey the 

Baron, the Citizen Dedem, Minister at Stuttgard from 

the Batavian Republic. Such a conceited creature I 

have seldom seen ; but he is clever and amusing to 

a degree. He has been half over the world, and lived 

many years in Turkey. His drawings of everything 

interesting in Greece are quite charming, and his 

knowledge for so young a man I should imagine 

great. He was taken prisoner in Holland, travelled 

in Egypt, and has lived a good deal in Italy. He had 

offered Mr. Egerton to write for a passport for us 

to go through Holland ; this he accepted, but I told 

him (even after the letter was written and sent) I 

would not rely upon any passport of the kind ; I knew 

they would take us prisoners ; that poor Lord Elgin 

and their fine promises were but too present to my 

recollection ; and through Holland I would not go. 

He was very angry, and told me for my want of faith 

he should take care I was taken prisoner somewhere 

else. I told him I hoped I should see him prisoner 

first, as he was just the sort of creature to attempt to 

land in England, and I should see he did not escape 

so easily as in Holland. . . . The Electress strongly 

advised us to go to Berlin, to take your advice where 

to embark, and not go too near the French. As 

a punishment we had a fine fright at Liibeck. Some 

French officers arrived, they had troops only fifteen 

1776-1803] TONNINGEN 45 

miles off, and they were expected shortly to march 
into that town ; so away we went, travelling all night, 
to Entin, I the only one not alarmed. I amused 
myself in the Duke's gardens, and Mrs. Egerton locked 
herself up in her room. At last, here we are, at the 
most abominable of places, starved and eaten up with 
gnats ; these and some other beings of the same 
description are the only ones that have ever filled 
me with fear during my stay upon the Continent. 

" We have had two or three bad overturns ; one 
of the servants who was upon the dicky is sadly hurt, 
and a dog in the carriage killed. This, I think, is 
enough to teach one how much we are under the care 
of Providence, when we consider that we all escaped 
unhurt, and ought to strike reproach to the heart 
of those who spend their days in murmuring and in 
useless lamentations about little inconveniences not 
to be avoided. I always thought happiness chiefly 
rested in the mind, and since I left England I am 
more than ever convinced of this truth. I like travel- 
ling of all things ; it is a constant change of ideas. . . . 
You would laugh at the collection of strange things 
I have scraped together; and as luck would have it, 
all those I got in Italy I sent home in a frigate, and 
those I got in Germany, a very clever fellow (formerly 
a mate) took safe off with the last mail, while the rest 
of the party have large stomachs of Roman pearl, 
trousers lined with amber, and heads twice as big as 
their natural ones. 

" We sail to-morrow with nearly thirty passengers, 
amongst whom is Col. Bosville, Home Tooke's friend, 
who is sufficiently disgusted with the consequences of 
democracy. ... I know no news from England, but 
report says here we are shortly to be driven from this 
place by the Danes ; certain it is they have marched 


in 400 men two days ago. Such a miserable set I 
never beheld ! They are building a wooden guard- 
house with all possible expedition. . . . This is a 
moment when I am sure talents are no less wanted 
than energy, and we seem to be deficient in both ; 
we talk a great deal and do nothing. Poor Hanover ! 
had we parted with it for something it would have 
been all very well. A great deal rests with you at 
this moment, so we ought not to despair, as I do not 
expect you will fall asleep, which must have been the 
case with some people. At all events, I think few 
instructions from England will reach you unless you 
wait for their making the tour of Europe before they 
arrive. You must then act completely for yourself, 
which is perhaps a consolation to those at least who 
respect your talents." 




LADY HESTER, on landing in England, found herself 
without a home. Her kind grandmother had died in 
April, and Burton Pynsent had passed to her elder 
uncle, Lord Chatham, who had taken charge of his 
other niece, the orphaned Harriet Eliot. All her 
hope, therefore, was in Mr. Pitt. My father once told 
me, that some time before, when talking of his sister 
to Mr. Pitt, he had asked him, " What is to become of 
Hester when Lady Chatham dies?" and, after a pause, 
Mr. Pitt replied, " Under no circumstances could I 
offer her a home in my own house." The plan thus 
suggested was distinctly distasteful to him. It implied 
the breaking up of all his habits, and a total change 
in his mode of life, with the disturbing presence of a 
vivacious and impetuous niece, of whom till then he 
had seen very little. Yet, when the emergency arose, 
he never for a moment hesitated. She was his dead 
sister's child his favourite sister's child and she 
must want for nothing that it was in his power to 
give. His door was at once opened to her, and " he 
welcomed her to his house as ner permanent abode. 
Henceforth she sat at the head of his table, and 
assisted him in doing the honours to his guests." It 
was an act of pure kindness, 1 and it met with its due 
reward, for " he came to regard her with almost a 
father's affection, and she, on her part, quickly formed 

1 " How amiable it is of Pitt to take compassion on poor Lady 
Hester Stanhope, and that in a way which must break in on his 
habits of life. He is as good as he is great." Lord Mulgrave's 



for him a strong and devoted attachment, which she 
extended to his memory as long as her own life 

" In her latter years Lady Hester Stanhope has 
been frequently described. Travellers in Palestine 
all sought to visit the recluse of Mount Lebanon. 
Many failed in gaining access to the 'castled crag' 
where she dwelt alone, and have indulged their spleen 
in bitter comments on one whom they never saw. 
Others who succeeded have portrayed and perhaps, 
as I may deem, exaggerated the violence of her temper 
and the eccentricity of her opinions. But not such 
was the Hester Stanhope who, at the age of twenty- 
seven, became the inmate of her uncle's house. With 
considerable personal attractions, the Lady Hester 
of 1803 combined a lively flow of conversation, and 
an inborn quickness of discernment. Her wit was 
certainly even then far too satirical, and too little 
under control. She made even then many enemies, 
but she also made many friends. Mr. Pitt was on 
some occasions much discomposed by her sprightly 
sallies, which did not always spare his own Cabinet 
colleagues. But on the whole her young presence 
proved to be, as it were, a light in his dwelling. It 
gave it that charm which only a female presence can 
give. It tended, I believe, far more than his return 
to power, to cheer and brighten his few too few 
remaining years." Life of Pitt, by Earl Stanhope. 

These few last years were the happiest and brightest 
of Lady Hester's life. To them she was ever after 
recurring with fond and undying regret. Old, neg- 
lected, and harassed with debts and difficulties, she 
loved to live over again the time when she was 
prosperous, courted, and honoured as the adopted 
daughter of the Prime Minister, and the world went 

1803-1810] WALMER CASTLE 49 

well with her. Above all, she clung to the remem- 
brance of his kindness and affection with the passionate 
devotion with which she repaid them. "Dear soul! 
I know she loves me," he had said on his death-bed ; 
and no truer words were ever spoken. She treasured 
up every word and look that recalled those golden 
days, to warm her heart in her loveless, solitary, 
forsaken old age. His memory was sacred to her, 
and her wrath at any real or fancied indignity blazed 
up chiefly on account of the slight suffered by " Pitt's 
niece." It was her one title of honour. She re- 
membered how actively she had played her part in 
the political world ; how she had been sought and 
consulted as the best means of gaining Mr. Pitt's 
ear ; how, to use Canning's words, she " stood instead 
of preface and apology" in confidential communica- 
tions with him, and had been employed to break the 
news of his junction with Addington to the colleague 
who so bitterly resented it. She had enjoyed her lull 
share of homage and success, nor were they altogether 
due to her position ; she ruled by the force of her will 
no less than by her gaiety and wit the flow of spirits 
and brilliant sallies that brighten and charm society. 
She made no secret of her likes and dislikes, and was 
emphatic and impetuous in both ; indeed, she gloried 
in her impetuosity, as a trait of resemblance between 
her and the great Lord Chatham. 

There are many descriptions of Lady Hester in 
after life, when she was an old woman, but none 
that I know of that gives an accurate idea of what 
she appeared in these halcyon days. Strange to say, 
the only writer who praises her beauty is Lord Hard- 
wicke, who first saw her when she was fifty years of 
age. 1 No authentic portrait of her exists, for she 
declared she never would consent to have one taken. 
She herself tells us that she never was good-looking ; 
the school-boy Thomas Price (see p. 85) says " she 
was neither beautiful nor handsome in any degree," 
and Sir William Napier (see p. 61) agrees that " she 
was not certainly beautiful." But and on this point 

1 I used to question Lord Hardwicke about this unknown aunt of 
mine, in whom I was much interested ; and once, in my youthful 
vanity, I asked, " Am I at all like Lady Hester ? " " You ? " he cried, 
in great indignation. " Why, you are not fit to hold a candle to her." 
(The authoress was renowned for her beauty in her earlier years.) 


there is but one opinion she was eminently attractive. 
She was 

" A daughter of the gods, divinely tall," 

with a very fine figure, and the air and gait of a queen ; 
she had a skin of dazzling fairness, bright eyes blue 
in reality, though often described as black, as they 
darkened and flashed in the excitement of the moment 
and a wonderful play of expression. Her face, 
brilliant with animation and intelligence, reflected 
each varying mood as it came, lighting up at every 
passing fancy, every sprightly sally, every indignant 
outburst, every delightful joke. No one, I suppose, 
more thoroughly enjoyed a joke. She had by nature 
the highest possible spirits, a good gift that never 
altogether deserted her to the very end ; an intense 
love of fun and frolic ; and a mischievous delight in 
mystifying and making sport of others, which, 1 think, 
she also always retained. She is said to have been 
an excellent mimic, an accomplishment that probably 
cost her dear, but made her a most entertaining 
companion. This gaiety and light-heartedness were 
to stand her in good stead during the troubled years 
to come. 

But the sorrows of the future are, by the infinite 
mercy of God, a sealed book to mortal eyes, and the 
present was all happiness and prosperity. Lady 
Hester, in her new position, felt herself the most 
fortunate of women, and was all gratitude and delight. 
She had attained the summit of her ambition, for she 
was now where she had always wished and hardly 
hoped to be. 

Lady Hester to Lord Haddington 


" November \t>th, 1803. 

" I will follow your example, and make no excuses 
for not being a regular correspondent, but I cannot 
omit saying how much pleasure your letter gave me, 
and how happy I felt at being able to return your 
congratulations upon my being here. To tell you 
the kindness with which Mr. Pitt conducts himself 
towards me would be a difficult task. . Mahon has 

1803-1810] VVALMER CASTLE 51 

taken a house near Dover, and is to be married next 
week. I like Catherine Smith l extremely. He could 
not have made, I believe, a better choice. Lady 
Carrington I admire particularly ; she is a sweet, 
amiable, sensible, and domestic woman ; he an ex- 
cellent, friendly man. Upon the whole, all things 
considered, the connection is a desirable one. . . . 
After the history of the family, I must tell you a little 
news of the French. We took one of their gunboats 
the other day, and as soon as she came in Mr. Pitt, 
Charles, Lord Camden, and myself took a Deal boat 
and rowed alongside of her. She had two large guns 
on board, thirty soldiers, and four sailors. She is 
about 30 feet long, and only draws about 4 feet oi 
water; an ill-contrived thing, and so little above the 
water that, had she as many men on board as she 
could really carry, a moderate storm would wash 
them overboard. Having seen enough of their rascally 
regiments, I certainly pronounce these picked men. 
They were well clothed and provided with everything 
an immense cask of brandy, and a certain quantity 
of provisions. They appeared neither low nor morti- 
fied at being stared at or talked to, nor did they sham 
spirits. They simply said they should soon be re- 
taken, for it would all be over in less than two 
months, and seemed perfectly at their ease; and, 
Frenchman-like, some of them were dressing their 
hair, and many attending in some way or other to 
the decoration of their persons, by pulling up a pro- 
digious black stock over their chin, or giving a 
knowing air to a very large cocked hat, with a 
horrible national cockade in it, which badge of 
rascality constantly occasions a thousand reflections, 
not of the most pleasant nature. Some people say 
1 Catherine Lucy, fourth daughter of Robert, first Lord Carrington, 


they will never attempt to come here. I differ from 
them, be they who they may. I have seen the almost 
impassable mountains they have marched their armies 
over, which no person would have been rash enough 
to have proposed, much less succeeded in. That they 
will attempt anything, I believe ; and should only a 
very few reach our coast, the mischief they may do 
is not to be calculated, with such wavering fools to 
dictate the conduct of those who are to repulse 
them. . . . Mr. Pitt's ist battalion of his newly-raised 
regiment was reviewed the other day by Gen. Dundas, 
who expressed himself equally surprised and pleased 
by the state of discipline he found them in. Lord and 
Lady Chatham have been staying here lately. I have 
been to all the reviews, &c., and certainly Lord C. 
never looked so well in his life as at this moment, nor 
did anybody ever contrive to appear as much of a 
prince as he does his led horses, his carriages, his 
dress, his star and garter, all of which he shows off 
in his quiet way with wonderful effect. I like all this 
sort of thing ; and I admire my uncle most particularly 
when surrounded with a tribe of military attendants. 
But what is all this pageantry compared with the 
unaffected simplicity of real greatness ! and how, 
indeed, does the former shrink before the latter, even 
in the estimation of its greatest admirers ! " 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


" November iqth, 1802. 

" To express the kindness with which Mr. Pitt 
welcomed my return, and proposed my living with 
him would be impossible, one would really suppose 
that all obligation was on his side. Here, then, am 
I, happy to a degree ; exactly in the sort of society I 

1803-1810] WALMER CASTLE 53 

most like. There are generally three or four men 
staying in the house, and we dine eight or ten almost 
every other day. Military and naval characters are 
constantly welcome here ; women are not, I suppose, 
because they do not form any part of our society. 
You may guess, then, what a pretty fuss they make 
with me. 

" The whole of the Carrington family are still at 
Deal Castle. Her Ladyship I like extremely ... a 
pleasanter neighbour I should not wish for. The 
girls are all vastly well in their way : Charlotte, 1 the 
3rd (your likeness), and Catherine, the 4th (Mahon's 
love), are, I think, the best of them ; the former, 
perhaps, altogether the most to be admired, though 
I would not change her to be my sister, as the latter 
is exactly made on purpose for Mahon. She knows 
what is right, nor is she the least likely ever to 
encourage what is otherwise; she is admirably well 
disposed, lively to a degree, and a great deal of 
temper. . . . They can make Lord Stanhope decide 
upon nothing, 2 so very shortly they are to be married 
upon articles, as it would be a very awkward thing 
for Mr. Pitt's regiment to be called out, Mahon 
obliged to join, and still unmarried. He has taken 
a pretty, small house near Dover, till the Castle is 
put into proper repair, and no longer made a garrison 
of. Lady Stanhope is allowed to see Mahon, and you 
will be surprised " (! !) " to hear has so completely got 
hold of him, that I believe few persons have more 
influence with him. ... I am far from satisfied with 
him in any one respect. . . . We will hope experience 
will teach him how inconsistent, how reprehensible is 
the misconduct he now pursues, that of setting him- 

1 The second wife of Alan, Lord Gardner. 
J His final decision was to give nothing at all. 


self up as a prodigy, and despising everybody's 
opinion but his own, and remaining indolent to a 
degree at a moment when every free-born Englishman 
should exert himself in the defence of his country. 
Mr. Pitt absolutely goes through the fatigue of a 
drill-sergeant. It is parade after parade, at fifteen or 
twenty miles distant from each other. I often attend 
him, and it is quite as much (I can assure you) as I 
am equal to, although I am remarkably well just now. 
The hard riding I do not mind, but to remain almost 
still so many hours on horseback is an incomprehen- 
sible bore, and requires more patience than you can 
easily imagine. However, I suppose few regiments 
for the time were ever so forward, therefore the 
trouble is nothing. If Mr. Pitt does not overdo it 
and injure his health every other consideration becomes 
trifling. You know me too well not to be aware of 
the anxiety I am under upon this account ; and the 
extreme care I take, or rather endeavour to take, of 
this blessing (so essential to him in pursuing his 
active line of conduct, therefore invaluable to his 
country), is rewarded by his minding me more than 
any other person, and allowing me to speak to him 
upon the subject of his health, which is always an 
unpleasant one, and one he particularly dislikes. 
There is no use in flattering a man who is not ill from 
fancy and makes but too light of his complaints, 
therefore I pursue quite a different plan ; and I am 
happy to be able to tell you, sincerely, I see nothing 
at all alarming about him. He had a cough when I 
first came to England, but it has nearly or quite left 
him. He is thin but certainly strong, and his spirits 
are excellent. His kindness to Charles has been equal 
to that he showed to Mahon. Ever since he returned 
from Gibraltar he has had him here, doing everything 

1803-1810] WALMER CASTLE 55 

most to his advantage, and treating him more like his 
son than a distant relation. Charles is a great 
favourite of his. His modesty in regard to his own 
talents, and his earnest wish to do everything that 
is right, endear him extremely to Mr. Pitt. He is 
promoted in the 57th Regiment, now at Ashford, and 
is likely to be among the first called into action 
should the French land. Mr. Pitt is determined to 
remain acting Colonel when his regiment is called 
into the field. Some persons blame this determination, 
but I do not. He has always hitherto acted up to his 
character. Why should he then in this instance 
prove deficient ? I should not be the least surprised 
any night to hear of the French attempting to land. 
Indeed, I expect it. But I feel equally certain that 
those who do succeed will neither proceed nor re- 
turn. . . . 

" The Egertons are in Cheshire, expiring of the 
approaching honour of Prince William's going there 
for a few days. They have made acquaintance with 
him at Liverpool, where they went on purpose to 
accomplish this point. Dalton is at Shorncliffe Camp, 
near Hythe. ... I wish much to see him to talk of 
Berlin. I shall not leave posterity to quiz me upon 
the subject of not seeing those places so much talked 
of and worth observation, but cheat it by seeing them 
all some day or other. My spirit could not dwell in 
peace with such a reproach attached to my memory, 
and still less when reflection taught it what were the 
only obstacles to my curiosity being gratified a fool 
and a fidget. Well, but I am so happy now that I am 
determined not to think of it. ... 

" I think I have a right to expect a long letter for 
this volume. When the invasion takes place you, 
shall have another." 


Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


"January 14^, 1804. 

" I lose no time in answering your letter, and 
thanking you for believing your neglect in not an- 
nouncing your marriage would make me angry. Had 
I taken it in that light I own it would ; but I believed 
you better employed. Let all those marry, my dear 
friend, who believe it for their happiness, and I trust 
you will find it to yours. As to your choice of a 
wife, you have lived enough in the world, and with 
all sorts of women, to know what is likely to suit 
you best. It appears to me that a foreigner is much 
better calculated for an Ambassador's wife than 
English women are in general, as they but too often 
suppose that when they leave their country, even 
with a man they profess to love, that this sacrifice 
alone is sufficient to make his happiness and neglect 
other means of ensuring his comfort, or rendering 
him as popular as he otherwise would have been, 
without a wife. Foreign women likewise present 
themselves so much better, and what etiquette requires 
is often no trouble to them, when to an Englishwoman 
it is quite a task. . . . 

" We are in almost daily expectation of the coming 
of the French, and Mr. Pitt's regiment is now nearly 
perfect enough to receive them. We have the famous 
1 5th Light Dragoons in our barracks; also the 
Northampton and Berkshire Militia. The first and 
last of these I command, and have an orderly dragoon 
whenever I please from the former, and the band of 
the latter. 

" I never saw any Militia Regiment so well officered, 
or composed of such pleasant men as the Berks. A 
Northamptonshire squire is not pleasant in his own 

1803-1810] WALMER CASTLE 57 

country, and does not improve by transplanting ; but 
the regiment is a fine body of men. I am at this 
moment alone here with my little brother James, 
who has left the Navy for the Army. He is too 
clever for a sailor too refined, I mean. I do not 
regret the change, as higher powers approve it. He 
is now in the Guards, and is to join, I believe, soon. 
The time will be decided when Mr. Pitt returns; I 
expect him in a few days. He was perfectly well 
when he left me. His most intimate friends say they 
do not remember him so well since the year ninety- 
seven. Nothing can please me better than the pleasant 
footing I am upon with all those most attached to 
him, and the satisfaction it appears to give him when 
they show me civility. It is impossible to say how 
amiably he always takes every attention shown to 
my brothers, and how anxious he is for their advance- 
ment in life. Nothing can succeed better than the 
two youngest. Charles is a great favourite of General 
Moore's, and indeed he deserves it, for he is a most 
excellent fellow. . . . Mahon is very idle about his 
duty as a soldier ; it vexes me extremely. James is 
much more known at Dover Castle than he is, and 
understands the works infinitely better, as he has 
often the office of escorting officers from here. It is 
most fortunate for Mahon the ist battalion is so well 
officered, as it nearly puts him out of the question, 
a circumstance so mortifying that I should shoot 
myself were I in his situation ; but I trust experience 
will improve him. Lady Mahon is a vastly kind good 
little soul; the more I see of her, the more I like 
her. . . . Do not detain Lord Aberdeen too long, as 
we want him here. Delightful Alex Hope has been 
staying with us, and we talked often of Lord A. 
Alex Hope is too perfect a creature, I cannot find one 


fault in his character, but that of being too good. 
Such perfection is awful \ 

"Gordon in the isth and I are great friends. Old 
Fergusson introduced and strongly recommended him 
to me. I have seen a great deal of him, and think 
him a very fine young man. I am engaged to dance 
with him at a grand ball on the i8th, when the officers 
of his regiment and of about six others will all be at 
my feet very delightful ! . . . 

" I do not know Lord G. Cavendish, but Lady G. 
is cousin to dear Lady Katharine Forester (the only 
woman I ever thought perfection). I write to her 
often, and shall not fail to name your approbation of 
her relation. . . . 

" I cannot pretend to tell you what will become of 
me this winter, as it will all depend upon Mr. Pitt's 
plans, which you know circumstances must govern. 
Should the idea of invasion become less probable, 
and should the Dutch ports be frozen up, I am in 
some hope I shall persuade him to go to Bath, not 
because he is ill, but to prevent his being so ; it agreed 
so wonderfully with him last year. . . . 

" Oh, such miserable things as the French gunboats ! 
We took a vessel the other day loaded with gin, to 
keep up their spirits, I suppose ; another with abomin- 
able bread and a vast quantity of peas and beans, 
which the soldiers eat. One of the boats had an 
extremely large chest of medicine, probably for half 
their flotilla. Their guns are ill mounted and cannot 
be used with the same advantage as ours, but are 
fine pieces of ordnance. Bonaparte was said to be at 
Boulogne a few days ago; the officers patrolled all 
night with the men, which was pleasant. I have my 
orders how to act in case of real alarm in Mr. Pitt's 
absence, and also a promise from him never to be : 

1803-1810] YORK PLACE 59 

further from the army than a two hours' ride. This 
is all I wish. I should break my heart to be driven 
up the country like a sheep when everything I most 
love was in danger. In short, I would not, and he 
knows that ; but always preferring to act kindly, 
instead of harshly, on all occasions, has never once yet 
attempted to thwart my inclinations." 

Lady Hester to Mr. 7. J. Jackson 


"March %tk, 1804. 

" I have been in town some weeks, and am as 
comfortable as possible. I live with Mr. Pitt's friends 
in the pleasantest way that can be. Lady Stafford, 
I think, is my leading female acquaintance, and per- 
haps the one I go out with most. It is uncertain 
how long we remain in town, and it is really a matter 
of indifference to me, as I cannot but be happy any- 
where in Mr. Pitt's society. I was at Blackheath 
last week ; the Princess of Wales made a thousand 
enquiries after you, and said she knew Mrs. Jackson 
very well formerly. . . . Lord Camelford has been 
shot in duel, and there is no chance of his recovering. 
You know my opinion of him, I believe, therefore can 
judge if I am not likely to lament his untimely end. 
He had vices, but also great virtues, but they were 
not known to the world at large. ... I have not time 
to write a long letter, nor am I inclined as you did 
not write to me; but I must just tell you Mr. Pitt is 
well, and more popular than ever with all classes of 
people. ... I made acquaintance with Mr. Charles 
Ellis at Mr. Canning's, where I have lately been for 
some days. We had a very pleasant party. Nothing 
after all I like so much as a country house, with 
pleasant people." 


Lady Hester was at the zenith of her glory when, 
two months after this, Mr. Pitt again became Prime 
Minister. No one surely could have more keenly 
appreciated the power and position this gave her, and 
she fully and freely enjoyed both. Nevertheless, it 
is but fair to remember, that the advantages were not 
altogether on one side. Mr. Pitt grew extremely fond 
of her; she pleased and amused him, and her joyous 
and brilliant presence enlivened and brightened his 
home. Her high spirits were infectious. General 
Sir William Napier, in his Life (vol. i. p. 28), gives 
an account of a visit he paid Mr. Pitt at Putney, 
which shows the happy terms on which they lived : 

"In 1804, being then near nineteen, and having 
been a brother officer of Charles Stanhope, Mr. Pitt's 
nephew, I was through him invited to pass some 
time at Putney, in Mr. Pitt's house. Arriving rather 
late, the great man was at dinner when I entered the 
room ; he immediately rose, and giving me both 
hands, welcomed me with such a gentle good nature, 
that Finstantly felt not at ease, for I was not at that 
time much troubled with what is called mauvaise honte, 
but that I had a friend before me, with whom I 
might instantly become familiar to any extent within 
the bounds of good breeding. Lady Hester Stanhope 
also treated me with the most winning kindness. All 
this produced a strange sensation, for I came deter- 
mined to hold fast by my patriotism though in 
presence of a wicked Minister, however polite or 
condescending he might be found. Brought up amidst 
Whigs, and used to hear Mr. Pitt abused with all the 
virulence of Whigs, I looked upon him as an enemy 
of all good government ; and my father, though not 
a Whig, had always condemned his war with France 
as an iniquitous and pernicious measure. Thus primed 
with fierce recollections and patriotic resolves, I 
endeavoured to sustain my mind's hatred against the 

1803-1810] PUTNEY 61 

Minister, but in vain ; all feeings sunk, except those 
of surprise and gratification, at finding such a gentle, 
good-natured, agreeable and entertaining companion. 
I say companion deliberately, and with a right, as 
will be seen from what follows. Lady Hester, more- 
over, was very attractive ; so rapid and decided was 
her conversation, so full of humour and keen observa- 
tion, and withal so friendly and instructive, that it 
was quite impossible not to fall at once into her 
direction, and become her slave, whether for laughter 
or seriousness. She was not certainly beautiful, but 
her tall commanding figure, her large dark eyes, and 
variety of expression, changing as rapidly as her 
conversation, and equally vehement, kept the mind 
in continual admiration. She had not much respect 
for the political coadjutors of Mr. Pitt. Lord Castle- 
reagh she always called ' His monotonous Lordship,' 
and Lord Liverpool was a constant theme of ridicule. 
Thus, speaking of a design at that time entertained 
of conferring military decorations, she told me that 
it had been agreed to by Mr. Pitt, but was stopped 
by the meddling of Lord Liverpool, who insisted on 
being a co-partner with her in choosing the colour 
and texture of the ribbons. That, she said, she 
thought, as a young woman, she might have been 
allowed to settle ; but Lord Liverpool, being an old 
woman, was jealous, and sent her four thousand 
yards she positively affirmed that four thousand 
yards of different ribbons at the expense of the public, 
which he proposed to examine in conjunction with 
her for the purpose of fixing on the most suitable. 
She sent them back with her compliments, saying she 
declined the concert, and could see no use whatever 
for the ribbons, except to make braces for supporting 
his Lordship's culottes, which she had observed were 


always weighed down by the heavy official papers in 
his pockets. This stopped all further progress in the 
plan for military decorations. 

" Of Sir John Moore she always spoke with admira- 
tion, and said Mr. Pitt had a like admiration for 
him ; that he never received even a common note 
from him at Deal without showing it to his company 
and pointing out the grace and felicity of the 

" Mr. Pitt used to come home to dinner rather 
exhausted, and seemed to require wine, port, of 
which he generally drank a bottle, or nearly so, in 
a rapid succession of glasses ; but when he recovered 
his strength from this stimulant he ceased to drink. 
His conversation with us was always gay, good- 
natured, and humorous, telling all sorts of amusing 

stories; some of them about the colonel of the 

Regiment, General , who was certainly a very 

comical character, of which two of Mr. Pitt's stories 
will give ample proof. The first was that, in the 

midst of the fears of a French invasion, General 

sent an extraordinary express with a parcel supposed 
to contain important news, but which turned out to 
be the night-cap of a member of the Government, 
who had left it behind when on a visit to the General. 
The second was also an express story, being a despatch 

from , when he commanded on the south coast, 

telling Mr. Pitt that 'two French ships were actually 
then landing troops in three places. 1 

" Mr. Pitt liked practical fun, and used to riot in it 
with Lady Hester, Charles and James Stanhope, and 
myself ; and one instance is worth noticing. We 
were resolved to blacken his face with burnt cork, 
which he most strenuously resisted, but at the begin- 
ning of the fray a servant announced that Lords 

1803-1810] PUTNEY 63 

Castlereagh and Liverpool desired to see him on 
business. ' Let them wait in the other room,' was 
the answer; and the great Minister instantly turned 
to the battle, catching up a cushion and belabouring 
us with it in glorious fun. We were, however, too 
many and strong for him, and, after at least ten 
minutes' fight, got him down and were actually 
daubing his face, when, with a look of pretended 
confidence in his prowess, he said, 4 Stop, this will 
do; I could easily beat you all, but we must not 
keep those grandees waiting any longer.' His defeat 
was, however, palpable, and we were obliged to get 
a towel and basin of water to wash him clean before 
he could receive the grandees. Being thus put in 
order, the basin was hid behind the sofa, and the 
two lords were ushered in. Then a new phase of 
Mr. Pitt's manner appeared, to my great surprise and 
admiration. Lord Liverpool's look and manner are 
well known melancholy, bending, nervous. Lord 
Castlereagh I had known from my childhood, had 
often been engaged with him in athletic sports, 
pitching the stone or bar, and looked upon him as 
what indeed he was, a model of quiet grace and 
strength combined. What was my surprise to see 
both him and Lord Liverpool bending like spaniels 
on approaching the man we had just been maltreating 
with such successful insolence of fun ! but instantly 
Mr. Pitt's change of manner and look entirely fixed 
my attention. His tall, ungainly, bony figure seemed 
to grow to the ceiling, his head was thrown back, 
his eyes fixed immovably in one position, as if reading 
the heavens, and totally regardless of the bending 
figures near him. For some time they spoke; he 
made now and then some short observation, and 
finally, with an abrupt stiff inclination of the body, 


but without casting his eyes down, dismissed them. 
Then, turning to us with a laugh, caught up his 
cushions and renewed our fight. 

" Another phase of his countenance I had yet to 
learn, some time after my visit, which was twice 
renewed at Putney. I was walking across the parade- 
ground of the Horse Guards, where I saw Mr. Pitt 
talking to several gentlemen, evidently upon business 
which interested him. I caught his eye while some 
forty yards from him. He gave a smile and nod of 
recognition, and I was advancing to greet him ; 
instantly his countenance changed with a commanding 
fierceness of expression difficult to describe, but it 
emphatically spoke, even at that distance : ' Pass on, 
this is no place for fooling,' was the meaning, and 
not to be mistaken." 

It is refreshing to see the stately and reserved 
Minister "unbend his brow of pride" to romp like 
a schoolboy with Lady Hester and her brothers. 

No doubt, in society she often startled and annoyed 
him by her habit of saying pretty much everything 
that came into her head ; and one can hear his warning 
voice across the room : " Hester, Hester ! what are 
you saying ? " But he could not help being amused, 
lor her wit was as spontaneous as her gaiety, and 
had far more fun in it than malice. There are two 
wa}'S of saying even unpleasant things, and she gave 
less offence than might have been supposed. Years 
afterwards, her cousin, Henry Wynn, writes to his 
mother (see p. 113): "I must, however, say that at 
the time when she is abusing everything which is 
most dear to me, she does it in a manner that it is 
impossible to be angry with her, and I believe that 
it proceeds more from a love of ridiculing than from 
the heart." 

She made his house extremely pleasant to those 
he liked, and considered it as her mission in life to 
" please Mr. Pitt." She watched over his health with 
the most anxious solicitude, and wrote long reports 

1803-1810] WALMER CASTLE 65 

of it to his physician, Sir W. Farquhar. She also 
wrote occasionally to his private Secretary. Here 
is one of her notes : 

Lady Hester to Mr. W. D. Adams 


" Sunday, 1805. 

" To have seen the Doctor l in a passion must have 
been charming ! So like a saline draught ! I suppose 
it is over by this time, as I never observed a draught 
hiss for more than a few minutes. I wish he may 
think proper to attack me in person, and I will sting 
him like a hornet. I will employ that delightful 
weapon irony, which Mark Antony used with so 
much success against Brutus. The business, how- 
ever, I think, had better rest until I come to town 
and talk it over with Mr. Pitt ; indeed, after what 
he said, it must be so. 

"A thousand thanks for the mention of a beau nom 
grave dans mon cceur, 2 which I hope will succeed in 
proportion to the unhappiness I have felt upon his 

"You see I refer to the last lines of your letter. 
I was frightened to a degree when the messenger 
arrived. I thought at first Mr. Pitt was ill, and when 
I saw his handwriting, that he was out of office, but 
was delighted to find it was only papers he wanted. 
I hope he found what he wanted; but they are in 
great confusion. I wish you would ask him some 
day >if he would like me to bring any more to town 
when I come, for at this moment perhaps it is difficult 
to say what are there he may want." 

There had been a long break in her correspondence 
with Mr. Jackson. In her last letter she had com- 
plained that she never heard from him now he was 

1 No doubt Lord Sidmouth. 

* An allusion to Lord Granville Leveson-Gower (see p. 68). 



married ; and though on this occasion it was she who 
was in fault, eleven months had elapsed before she 
wrote again. This time her letter struck a discordant 
note. In the midst of all her social successes had 
come a sharp pang of disappointment, and she was 
despondent and discouraged. 

Lady Hester to Mr. T. J. Jackson 


"February yd, 1805. 

" It is not my enviable situation (as the world calls 
it) to which I owe my head being turned and my 
neglecting my friends, but, alas ! to one of your 
fraternity. For many months after I received your 
last kind letter I believe this was the case, and now 
my heart (however devoted it will always be to those 
who have served me) points, like the compass, to the 
North. Now perhaps you understand, and also under- 
stand I am not happy; indeed, how can I be, when 
I have shown my taste more than my prudence in 
admiring an object which fills more hearts than one? 
You know me too well, I believe, to accuse me of 
being fond of idle confidences, and I esteem you too 
much to give you any false reason for an apparent 
neglect which even the cause will hardly justify to 

" Last spring and part of this summer I bore in the 
great world much more than my value, for talents, 
looks, &c., everything was overrated, and although I 
was perfectly aware of it at the time, then, 1 own, 
I enjoyed it ; now, if I could command it, it would be 
indifferent to me. But my looks are gone (as they 
always do with the absence of health), and 1 have 
been recommended to come into the country to regain 
them ; and here I have been three weeks. To be near 
my sister-in-law was a good excuse to leave town ; 
they (Mahon and her) see I am not well or as gay as 

1803-1810] WALMER CASTLE 67 

usual, but do not understand why. As we have been 
quite in different society, Mahon and her Ladyship 
are as ignorant as you would have been had I not 
written what I have. Indeed, il n'est pas permis to 
write such stuff; but I have been too much in habits 
of confidence with you to recede from them without a 
cause. My sincerity will, I hope, procure me a pardon 
for apparent ingratitude, and not draw upon me the 
ridicule of a member of a corps I am now more 
attached to than ever. I think there is a sort of 
sympathy in my preference, as they all flock about me, 
and seldom a day passes in town but one or two 
constantly spend hours with me. ... I am, thank 
God, most fortunate in still continuing to please 
Mr. Pitt. I might (if it did not sound vain) say more 
than ever, if I may judge by his kindness, which, if 
possible, augments. In short, nothing can go on 
better than we do so considerate, so indulgent, is his 
conduct towards me. Mahon lives en philosophe (near 
here) with his wife ; he does well in his way, but will, 
I plainly see, never do for public life. A little philoso- 
pher * arrived the other day. Charles turns out 
admirably, and is still with General Moore. James 
has had a commission in the Guards for more than 
a year ; but the Duke of York has given him leave of 
absence to study with a private tutor, a remarkably 
clever man. ... I think I shall remain here six weeks 
longer. I am not dull, or, rather, not idle, as I have 
the charge of improvements here plantations, farms, 
buildings, &c. The grave and the gay Generals pay 
me all due respect and attention, and so would all the 
garrison if I would allow them ; but as I did not come 
here to be gay, I dispense with their civility and 
society. ... I shall be anxious to hear from you, as it 
1 My brother. 


will be the means of proving to me that you have 
not taken ill my long silence, which I think I have 
explained rather at the expense of my discretion ; but 
I will not say that either, for I do not think in my life I 
ever did what I thought wrong at the time, and of this, 
I dare say, I shall have in future no reason to repent. 

" I often wish I was a bird you might then see me 
at Berlin ; but only in my flight there might be some 
danger, in this season, of my wings being frozen, but 
the warmth of my heart would, I think, overcome 
it. ... When I left Mr. Pitt he was very well, and 
bearing all the fatigue of business most astonishingly. 
Poor dear Lord Harrowby's illness fell very heavily 
upon him for a time." 

Note by my brother, $th Earl Stanhope. " The ' Diplo- 
mate ' here referred to was Lord Granville Leveson- 
Gower, who had gone as Ambassador to Petersburg. 
At a later period he was created Earl Granville. 1 

" Lord G. Leveson-Gower married another lady 
(a daughter of the Duke of Devonshire) on the 24th 
of December, 1809, and we find that only a few weeks 
afterwards, on the loth of February, 1810, Lady Hester 
Stanhope, embarking at Portsmouth, left England for 
the remainder of her life." S. 

With this letter the correspondence appears to have 
come to an end ; at all events, no more are preserved, 
nor have I any others of this date the momentous 
date that was to close poor Lady Hester's brief career 
of power and prosperity. The New Year came as the 
herald of disaster and tribulation, for January, 1806, 
found Mr. Pitt on his death-bed. He had come up 
from Bath on the gth to attend the meeting of Parlia- 

1 I have a faint recollection of him coming to call upon my mother. 
He was then old, nearly stone deaf, and very silent ; but he had been 
eminently good-looking, and considered very agreeable. He was the 
second son of the Marchioness of Stafford, mentioned by Lady Hester 
as her frequent chaperone (see p. 59). 

1803-1810] DEATH OF PITT 69 

ment, very ill and feeble ; but it was not till the igth 
that he was pronounced to be in danger. His exhaus- 
tion was so extreme that hardly any one was admitted 
to see him. Lady Hester herself was excluded, but 
James Stanhope, keeping out of his sight, remained 
in his room to the end, and has left a minute account 
of his last moments. 

" On Wednesday, January 2$rd, Doctors Baillie and 
Reynolds arrived about three, and gave as their 
opinion that Mr. Pitt could not live above twenty-four 
hours. Our own feelings in losing our only protector, 
who had reared us with more than parental care, I 
need not attempt to describe. 

" From Wednesday morning I did not leave his 
room again, except for a few minutes, till the time of 
his death, though I did not allow him to see me, as 
I felt myself unequal to the dreadful scene of parting 
with him, and feared (although he was given over) 
that the exertion on his part might hasten the dreadful 
event that now appeared inevitable. Hester applied 
for leave to see him, but was refused. Taking, how- 
ever, the opportunity of Sir Walter's being at dinner, 
she went into Mr. Pitt's room. Though even then 
wandering a little, he immediately recollected her, and 
with his usual angelic mildness wished her future 
happiness, and gave her a most solemn blessing and 
affectionate farewell. On her leaving the room I 
entered it ; and for some time afterwards Mr. Pitt 
continued to speak of her, and several times repeated, 
1 Dear soul ! I know she loves me. Where is Hester ? 
Is Hester gone ? ' In the evening Sir Walter gave 
him some champagne, in hopes of keeping up for a 
time his wasting strength, and as Mr. Pitt seemed to 
feel pain in swallowing it, owing to the thrush in his 
throat, Sir Walter said, ' I am sorry, sir, to give you 
pain. Do not take it unkind.' Mr. Pitt replied, ' I 


never take anything unkind that is meant for my 
good.' ... I remained the whole of Wednesday night 
with him. His mind seemed fixed on the affairs of the 
country, and he expressed his thoughts aloud, though 
sometimes incoherently. He spoke a good deal con- 
cerning a private letter from Lord Harrowby, and 
frequently enquired the direction of the wind, then 
said, answering himself, ' East ; ah, that will do ; that 
will bring him quick.' At other times he seemed to 
be in conversation with a messenger, and sometimes 
cried out, ' Hear, hear ! ' as if in the House of 
Commons. During the time he did not speak he 
moaned considerably. ... At about half-past two he 
ceased moaning, and did not speak or make the 
slightest sound for some time. I feared he was dying ; 
but shortly afterwards, in a much clearer voice than 
he spoke in before, and in a tone I shall never forget, 
he exclaimed, ' Oh, my country ! how I leave my 
country ! ' From that time he never spoke or moved, 
and at half-past four expired without a groan or 
struggle. His strength being quite exhausted, his life 
departed like a candle burning out." 

All England mourned him ; but of Lady Hester's 
grief who may venture to speak ? What had she not 
lost ? Her best friend ; her only protector ; her more 
than father ; the man whom, of all the world, she most 
honoured and admired ; the home that was so dear to 
her ; the position of which she had been so proud ; all 
she most prized seemed to have passed out of her life 
with him. He had been, as she said, a guardian angel 
to her and hers ; she owed everything to him, and she 
held him very dear. His care and affection had never 
failed her, and she could recall no word, no look, no 
tone of his that had not been kind. She had lived 
under his roof, and been permitted to have a share in 
his life, and she had glorified in the privilege, and 
made all his interests, his ambitions, his hopes and 

1803-1810] SOUTH HILL 71 

his fears, her own. What was left to her now ? Her 
occupation was gone, her prospects at an end The 
present was a dreary blank, and there seemed to be 
nothing in store for her in the future. Yet she bore 
her burden, and faced the situation nobly and courage- 
ously. The following letter, addressed to Mr. Adams, 
is very striking in its uncomplaining submission and 
unfaltering resolution. 


"January 26tA, 1806. 

" Be my fate what it may, I am prepared to meet 
the worst, conscious that I have already received from 
Providence many blessings I do not deserve, therefore 
I have no right to expect more. Yet my mind will 
ever retain its independence. God always tempers the 
blast to the shorn lamb, and He has blessed me with a 
spirit equal to any misfortune (unconnected with 
remorse) if I can support myself under the present 
deepest of afflictions. You have no idea of the con- 
solation it is to me that I received the last blessing of 
that beloved angel ; and that, when forbid to see him 
(because it was thought he would not know me), I 
took my own way, and disobeyed unnatural commands. 
My voice recalled his scattered senses, and he was 
perfectly collected the whole time I was with him ; 
and when I departed, and though his ideas again 
became confused, he continued to name me with affec- 
tion. This proud pre-eminence over the rest of the 
world will compensate me for many future sorrows 
which his loss must entail upon us." 

Lady Hester, once again homeless and adrift, was 
received in the house of her kinsman, Lord Harrington, 
who showed her very great kindness. It was Mr. Pitt 
her benefactor even beyond the grave who for the 
second time came to her rescue. On that fatal 
Wednesday, when his life was slowly ebbing away, 
he had dictated his last wishes to the Bishop of 


Lincoln, and considered her future position. With a 
most kindly thought for the situation of his three 
nieces, deprived as they were of a father's care, he 
expressed a wish that a pension of 1,000, or 1,200, 
a year, might be settled upon Hester, and a pension 
also upon each of her two sisters. " I am far from 
saying," he added, " that my public services have 
earned it, but still I hope my wish may be complied 

Parliament accordingly granted a pension of 1,200 
a year to Lady Hester, and 600 a year each to Lady 
Griselda and Lady Lucy. "The warrants for this 
purpose were carried to the King for signature by 
Lord Hawkesbury before he retired from office." 

Lady Hester took a house in Montagu Square, to 
make a home for her two younger brothers, and after 
a time resumed her London life. But London now 
wore an unfamiliar aspect. It did not seem to be the 
same place, and she hardly recognised herself amid 
such surroundings. She was, in truth, a dethroned 
princess. Her subjects had fallen off from their allegi- 
ance, and the world, that had been at her feet, knew 
her no more. She had not, perhaps, till then, fully 
realised the alteration in her position, nor anticipated 
its inevitable result, and she was bitterly mortified and 
disappointed. She had been accustomed to queen it 
in society, to be courted, consulted, and applauded, 
and she could not endure to find herself now of little 
or no account. She felt this supposed neglect acutely, 
and resented it as an unmerited humiliation. Her 
pride rose up in arms ; she became irritable, suspicious 
of slights, and ready both to give and take offence, 
discarding some of her friends and alienating others 
at the very time when she most needed and claimed 
their support. With my father she had now definitely 
quarrelled, on the ground of his ingratitude (" that 
abominable vice," see p. 206) ; and she was on bad 
terms with Lord Chatham, Lord Grenville, and several 
other relatives. Though her letter to Mr. Adams was, 
as we have seen, dated from South Hill, she had since 
broken off all intercourse with Mr. Canning. 

I have no letters of hers of this date, which is the 
more unfortunate, as it must have been in these that 
her engagement to Sir John Moore was first reported. 
She had already felt an enthusiastic admiration for 

1803-1810] SIR JOHN MOORE 73 

" Charles's General," who had been excessively kind to 
her brother ; and that a strong attachment had sprung 
up between them I do not for a moment doubt. But 
I think it must have been more of an understanding 
than an engagement. It is true she spoke of him as 
the man she was to have married to M. Didot, ten 
years afterwards, in Syria ; but there certainly never 
was any open acknowledgment, far less announce- 
ment, of their betrothal. 1 It should be borne in mind 
that there was every possible reason for delay. He 
was a soldier on active service, heart and soul in his 
profession ; there could be no thought or prospect of 
marriage for him at that time, nor probably for a long 
time to come. It must be a hope laid up for the 
future, when, his campaigns being ended, he might 
sheathe his sword and come home to claim his bride. 
His last letter to her alludes to the chance of a joyful 
reunion. But it was not to be. In 1808, on his return 
from Sweden, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief 
of the army sent to Portugal to assist the Spaniards 
in resisting the French. Charles Stanhope went with 
him as his Aide-de-camp, and James joined him soon 
afterwards in a similar capacity. 

Lady Hester, left alone, remained in a cruel state of 
anxiety and suspense, as the letter here inserted 
sufficiently shows. The direction is lost, and there 
is no date. 

" Monday Night. 

" You are very good to forgive my not having 
answered your kind letter, which I received in Wales ; 
but the fact was I had nothing to say. I came to town 
two months ago, much mended in health, but I have 
been of late in so wretched a state of anxiety about the 
army in Spain that I have fretted myself almost ill 
again. Charles went with Moore; James has been sent 
with despatches (the beginning of last month), and we 
have never heard of his arrival at headquarters. Besides 
all this, I am beyond measure angry with Canning, 

1 Lady Griselda, as she once told me, knew nothing of it, and 
believed that Lord Granville was the only man her sister ever wished 
to marry. 


who is certainly turned fool. Did one ever hear of 
such appointments as those of a Volunteer Colonel 
and Button-hole Bore ? I have not seen him once, 
nor do I mean to. I cannot sanction public incapacity 
and private ingratitude; for what are the claims of 
these people in comparison to many I could name ? . . . 
" I open this again to say that although I am not 
a Peer, a Judge, or a Bishop, neither am I a Prince, 
yet I have got the enclosed letter, only sent, as a note 
tells me, to those I have named above. Read it, but 
don't lend it on any account, and return it me 
to-morrow, if I do not see you Wednesday." (The 
enclosure has disappeared.) 

She kept up a close correspondence with the 
General, and several of his letters to her have been 
preserved. Here are a few extracts from them : 

Sir John Moore to Lady Hester 


"October i6M, 1808. 

" Charles's Regiment was in the number of those 
named to remain in Portugal, under Sir Henry 
Burrard ; this was breaking his heart, and so was 
it mine but I have, at last, contrived an arrange- 
ment, in concert with Sir Henry, who is the most 
liberal of men, to take the soth with me, and now all is 
well. The regiments are already marching. His will 
move in a few days, and as soon as I have seen every- 
thing in train here, I shall push on, and get to their 
head. Pray for good weather ; if it rains the torrents 
will swell, and be impassable, and I shall be accounted 
a bungler. ... I wish you were with us. The climate 
now is charming ; we should give you riding enough, 
and in your red habit, a l'Amazone,you would animate 
and do us all much good." 


Sir John Moore to Lady Hester 


" November 2oth, 1808. 

" I received some time ago your letter of the 24th 
October. I shall be very glad to receive James if he 
wishes to come to me as an extra aide-de-camp, 
though I have already too many, and arn, or shall be, 
obliged to take a young FitzClarence. But I have a 
sincere regard for James, and besides, can refuse you 
nothing, but to follow your advice. He must get 
the Commander-in-Chiefs leave to come to Spain. 
He may then join me. He will, however, come too 
late ; I shall already be beaten. I am within four 
marches of the French, with only a third of my force, 
and as the Spaniards have been dispersed in all 
quarters, my junction with the other two-thirds is very 
precarious, and when we do join we shall be very 
inferior to the enemy." 


" November 2yd, 1808. 

11 Charles is not yet arrived. His was one of the last 
regiments that left Lisbon, and was not intended to 
join us, if I, in compassion to his melancholy counten- 
ance, had not found a pretext. We are in a scrape, 
but I hope we shall have spirit to get out of it ; you 
must, however, be prepared to hear very bad news. 
The troops are in as good spirits as if things were 
better ; their appearance and good conduct surprises 
the grave Spaniard, who had never before seen any 
but their own or French soldiers. 

" Farewell, my dear Lady Hester. If I extricate 
myself and those with me from our present difficulties, 
and if I can beat the French, I shall return to you 


with satisfaction ; but if not, it will be better I shall 
never quit Spain. 

" I remain always very faithfully and sincerely yours, 


He only lived long enough to see his dearest wish 
fulfilled. Less than two months after this was written, 
he had saved his army, beaten the French, and was 
lying buried, 

" From the field of his fame fresh and gory," 

on the glacis of the ramparts of Corunna. 1 His last 
thought was of Lady Hester the last words that 
passed his lips were for her. 

Few death scenes could, I think, be more pathetic 
than that recounted by the faithful friend and comrade 
whose hand he held clasped in his to the end. They 
had been companions in arms for twenty-one years. 
" Anderson, don't leave me," he had said, as he was 
being carried off the field in the deepening twilight, 
the soldiers shedding tears as they went. Captain 
Hardinge wanted to unbuckle his sword, which was 
on the wounded side, and pressed against his shattered 
arm. " It is as well as it is," he told him. " I had 
rather it should go out of the field with me." Two 
surgeons, hastily despatched by Sir David Baird, came 
hurrying to meet him, but he bade them go to the 
soldiers. " You can be of no service to me ; to them 
you may be useful." He had told Hardinge that he 
knew there was no possible chance of life for him. As 
he was borne slowly along, he often made the soldiers 
turn him round towards the battlefield, and listened 
to the firing, pleased to hear the sound growing fainter 
and fainter. At length they reached his lodging at 
Corunna ; and there, standing in the passage, speech- 

1 "He pushed forward from Salamanca on December izth with 
25,000 men to attack Soult, and had defeated the enemy's cavalry at 
Sahagun, when he learnt that Madrid had fallen, and that Napoleon 
was advancing against hinv with greatly superior forces, while Soult 
menaced him from another point. Thereupon, across the snows of 
a mountainous region, he made a masterly retreat of 200 miles to 
Corunna, which he reached on January I3th. There he embarked 
his sick and artillery, and without cannon defeated Soult's army, 
January i6th"Li/e of Sir John Moore. 

1803-1810] DEATH OF SIR JOHN MOORE 77 

less and stunned at the sad sight, he noticed his faithful 
servant Francois. " My friend," he said, with a smile, 
" this is nothing." 

He was laid on his bed, and his wound now 
examined. " He spoke to the surgeons, but was in 
such pain he could say little. 

" Alter some time he seemed very anxious to speak 
to me, and at intervals got out as follows : ' Anderson, 
you know I have always wished to die in this way.' 
He then asked, 'Are the French beaten?' which he 
repeated to every one he knew as they came in. 
1 1 hope the people of England will be satisfied. . . . 
I hope my country will do me justice. . . . Anderson 
you will see my friends as soon as you can. Tell 
them everything. Say to my mother' here his 
voice quite failed and he was excessively agitated. 
1 Hope Hope I have much to say to him, but cannot 
get it out. Are Colonel Graham and all my aides- 
de-camp well ? ' ' Here Colonel Anderson made a 
sign that he was not to be told of Captain Burrard's 
wound. Poor Captain Burrard only survived his 
chief two days. " I have," he resumed, " remembered 
my servants Colborne has my will." Major Colborne 
entered at that moment, and he spoke very kindly to 
him, and told Anderson to report that his dying request 
had been for a Lieutenant-Colonelcy for Colborne. 
4i He has been long with me, and I know him most 
worthy of it." Then he asked again, " Are the French 
beaten ? " Colborne assured him they were, at every 
point. " It's a great satisfaction for me to know we 
nave beaten the French. Is Paget in the room ? 
Remember me to him . . . He is a fine fellow ... I 
feel myself so strong ... I fear I shall be long dying. 
It is great pain . . . great uneasiness . . ." Two of 
his aides-de-camp, Captain Perry and James Stanhope, 
now came into the room. He spoke to Perry kindly, 
and again asked after his staff. 

Then, after a pause, followed the last words of 
all, " Stanhope, remember me to your sister ! " and, 
pressing Colonel Anderson's hand close to his side, 
he passed away without a struggle. 

Which of us would not be found to say and feel 

" O morts pour ma patrie ! 
Je suis votre envieux." 


Lady Hester mourned him with an overwhelming 
sense of loss. What woman ever had more cause to 
grieve? With him was buried every promise the 
future had held out to her, the home she was to have 
shared with him, the life spent together, the storm- 
sheltered haven where she might end her days, the 
priceless love and devotion that was to give her all. 
How different how widely different her fate must 
have been if he had lived ! 

She never forgot him. Often and often, in the far-off 
dismal years to come, buried in the solitude of the 
Lebanon, she must have mused over all that might 
have been, and was never to be, in the inexorable 
Past. Almost the only trinkets she retained to the 
end were some sleeve-links containing his hair; and 
there is a tradition at Djoun of a blood-stained glove 
that she kept carefully locked up, and would often 
take out and look at. 

It was characteristic that almost her first thought, 
on receiving the fatal news, was anxiety that her 
hero's memory should be duly honoured, and she at 
once wrote to the Prime Minister (Lord Grenville) 
on the subject. Although she signs herself " Your 
affectionate Cousin," it will be observed that she 
addresses him with the cold formality of a stranger, 
and a decidedly aggressive stranger. 

Lady Hester to Lord Grenville 


''''January -z^th. 

" At a moment when I am quite broken-hearted at 
the loss of our valuable friend, General Moore, and 
in a state of cruel anxiety about my brothers, I am 
little able to frame excuses for the liberty I take in 
addressing you ; yet I think that my motives for 
troubling your Lordship will be sufficiently evident 
to make apology unnecessary. Fully aware that the 
merits of the General, whose loss is but too severely 
felt by his country, are acknowledged by your Lord- 
ship, I have no doubt of your intention to grant him 
every tribute of public respect due to his talents and 

1803-1810] MONTAGU SQUARE 79 

virtues. Yet I feel it a duty incumbent upon me, as 
the last proof I can give of that gratitude and affection 
(upon which he had so many claims) to state to your 
Lordship what I am persuaded will increase your 
interest towards him, and have no small weight in 
strengthening the high opinion you may have formed 
of his merits. Circumstances, never sufficiently to 
be lamented, have in all probability prevented your 
Lordship from being aware of a fact which was men- 
tioned to me in confidence by Mr. Pitt, and which I 
have never before conversed upon with any one except 
my brother Charles, to whom it was communicated 
by Sir John Moore, as he was to have accompanied 
him had the expedition taken place. Some intel- 
ligence Mr. Pitt received on his return to office led 
him to decide upon sending a large body of troops 
to France, provided it was possible to make good 
their landing. He promised General Moore the 
command of 30,000 men ; indeed, of all the disposable 
force of the country, if he thought such a force 
necessary ; but, upon the General reconnoitring the 
coast, he judged it most prudent to give up the plan. 
Of course some of the present Ministers must have 
)een aware of what was in agitation at that period, 
md of the unlimited confidence Mr. Pitt placed in 
Sir John Moore's judgment and exertions, which 
xmsiderably adds to their guilt, for no man could 
have been more ill-treated than the General has been 
by them. I have great apprehensions that they will 
even persecute him beyond the grave, by blackening 
his memory and diminishing the honours he is so 
well entitled to from his country. As I am aware how 
much I have been abused, and that your Lordship 
is said to have a strong prejudice against women 
meddling in politics, I shall beg leave to remark that 


I neither wish to be put in possession of your senti- 
ments respecting the subject which I have addressed 
you upon, or expect to receive any answer to my 
letter. But should any doubt exist in your Lordship's 
mind of the accuracy of my statement, you can take 
proper means to make enquiries of the Duke of York, 
who cannot be ignorant of what I have asserted, and 
who, I am sure, with his usual kindness and liberality, 
will bear testimony to the high esteem in which 
Mr. Pitt ever held General Moore's public and private 
character, and no doubt add H.R.H.'s sentiments of 
constant approbation of the conduct of this lamented 
and distinguished officer." 

When Lady Hester wrote this, she was yet ignorant 
of her brother's fate. She had now to learn that poor 
Charles had been shot through the heart while leading 
on his men, almost at the same moment that the 
General received his death wound. This second 
crushing blow, following so closely on the first, 
completely overpowered her. There is a touching 
letter unfortunately imperfect that describes her 
agony of grief, and was probably written to the 
same friend whose name is lost. I have here repro- 
duced it, without attempting to fill up the gaps left 
by the fragments torn away. 


11 Monday. 

" You are very kind to me, my dear friend. I would 
have written before, but really I have been unable to 
do anything. To have lost by one fatal blow the best 
and kindest of brothers, and the dearest of friends, 
is a misfortune so cruel, that I am convinced I can 
never recover it. I try to resign myself to the will 
of God, and reap what consolation I can from the idea 
that my beloved brother fell in the proud execution 
of his duty, adored by all who accompanied him to 

1803-1810] MONTAGU SQUARE 81 

the field. The last observation the dear and lamented 
General in ... was upon the furious . . . for had 
they given way . . . must have been cut to pieces. 
He rode up, on seeing their wonderful exertions, and 
called out, ' Well done, the soth, well done, my 
Majors ! ' ' (My brother and his friend Napier com- 
manded the regiment, the Lieut.-Colonel being absent.) 
" Moore received his death-blow shortly after, and my 
poor brother fell nearly at the same time. Thank 
Heaven, the latter did not suffer one instant, or had time 
to reflect on the misery of those who remain to deplore 
his loss. The gallant General lived three hours, but 
the agony he was in never deranged his ideas; he 
was perfectly collected ... of what he must have . . . 
last words he was . . . ' remember me to your sister ' ; 
he then smiled and went to Heaven without a groan. 
You may wonder I can tell you all this; but grief 
has its peculiarities, and thinking of nothing else but 
those I have lost, I like to talk of them, and the very 
first person I saw, and, indeed, almost the only one 
1 have devoted my time to since, is Colonel Anderson, 
an officer who has served fifteen years with the dear 
General, and whom Charles loved and respected as 
he deserves. Knowing the nature of my feelings, the 
instant he arrived in town he came to me and told 
me everything in detail. Moore called to him as he 
was about to ... and he remained with h . . . I was 
half distracted till J . . . the poor little creature . . . 
gone through ; but Heaven be praised that he has 
been spared me ! I often consider him with astonish- 
ment, and wonder how it is possible that he is alive. 
His cloak, buckled upon his horse, was shot through, 
and the spent ball hit, but did not wound him. He 
advanced one pace out of a line to see if he could 
ca . . . one more look at his brother, and the four 


men near him were all taken off by a cannon ball. 
He says no one thing on the face of the earth could 
have made up to him for not being there, as it afforded 
him an opportunity of performing ... to the two 
persons he most loved on ... Beloved Charles was 
so adored by the regiment, that, as soon as he fell, 
they called out, 'They shall pay for it! we will be 
revenged ! ' and they fought on as well without officers 
as with. Officers and men have all put themselves into 
mourning. A greater mark of respect was, I think, 
never yet paid so young a man. All the Grenvilles 
and all the people I care about have been most 
extremely kind to me. Canning has attempted to 
be so too, but I would have nothing to say to him. 
I can at this moment less forgive his conduct to Moore 
than I was ever before inclined to do. I think that 
Government will hardly stand the Spanish question. 
Our plans remain the s . . . Colonel Anderson accom- 
pany . . . Bath in about three weeks. One of our 
great comforts is to hear Anderson talk over and 
praise those who are no more. He has been most 
seriously wounded in former actions, is now in bad 
health, and quite broken-hearted ; therefore it will 
be a consolation to us to be able to pay him every 
possible kindness and attention. I have written you 
a sad, confused letter, but I feel as if I had just waked 
from a horrid dream, so you must forgive it. . . ." 

Lady Hester's passionate grief was exasperated and 
embittered by a keen sense of wrong the wrong done 
to the memory of Moore. His conduct of the cam- 
paign had been unfavourably commented upon in 
rarliament, his plans sharply critised, and every word 
of blame or cavil was a fresh wound that cut her to 
the quick. She was chiefly indignant with Lord 
Castlereagh ; but Canning came in for a full share of 
her wrath. The letter of condolence he addressed to 

i8o3-i8ioj MONTAGU SQUARE 83 

his " dearest Lady Hester " received the following 
vehement reply : 

Lady Hester to Mr. Canning 

" Saturday Night. 

"Three years ago, in Devonshire, I absolved you 
from all future kindness and attention to me ; but that 
which you once bestowed on me I found too valuable 
not to accompany my request with an entreaty that 
you would grant it in reversion to my beloved 
brothers. It is your neglect of them, and not of a 
poor wretched being, that so much displeases me. As 
for your attempting (when you had it in your power 
for four months last year) to have mixed them up 
with the rascally set you act with, I should have little 
thanked you for, or permitted, could I have prevented 
it. But never to have enquired after them, either 
through me (or others that 1 could find) when exposed 
to such dangers, is certainly what I never made up 
my mind to think possible. Even people I hardly 
knew, but who loved and admired their sisters, took 
means not only of being informed about them, but of 
communicating to me all the intelligence they could 
pick up. I repeat, I disapprove of your past conduct 
to the dear General, and despise your present silence 
respecting him. Were you gifted with eloquence, not 
to do justice to his glorious death ? but if you FEEL 
like that vile Castlereagh, perhaps you do well not to 
tell the host of lies he did in the House, and hold a 
different language out of it. I have a copy of a private 
letter of his ; if he had come in my way when I read 
it, it might have brought upon him the punishment he 
deserved for his duplicity. ... I am also mortified 
beyond description that you are not the public character 
I expected, and I am sure this feeling is not softened 
by your private conduct to those I love. After what I 

84 REV. T. PRICE [CH. n 

have said you cannot suppose it would be any con- 
solation to me to see you." 

She dismisses her uncle Chatham's expressions of 
sympathy very curtly : 

" I feel your kind attentions at this unhappy moment 
as much as I felt your neglect of me under similar 
affecting circumstances. I thank God James is spared 
me, and try to console myself with the idea that if 
beloved Charles could have chosen his death, it would 
have been to have shared the glorious one of our dear 
friend, the ever-lamented General." 

Much of this excessive soreness and irritability may 
perhaps have been attributable to illness, for her 
health had completely broken down under the long 
stress and strain of anxiety and suffering. London 
had become hateful to her, and she was eager to escape 
to some quiet place in the country, where she might 
rest and recruit, and possibly regain her strength. 
She bethought herself of a lonely farmhouse she had 
seen the year before in Wales, and remembered that 
she had taken a great liking to the place. 

In the preceding summer (of 1808), being at Bath, 
she had made an excursion into the Principality, and 
taken up her abode in a little inn at Builth, on 
the beautiful banks of the Wye. Here she made 
acquaintance with the clergyman's son, then a mere 
lad, afterwards the Rev. Thomas Price, who has left a 
detailed account of her in his Literary Remains. He 
and the landlady's little girl, Betsy Jones, to whom 
she had taken a great fancy, accompanied her on a 
long expedition she undertook to see the country, 
going to Aberystwyth, Tregaron, and Llanwrtyd. 
They travelled in her coach as long as the roads 
admitted of it, and then on horseback, Lady 
Hester leading the way on her "spirited palfrey," 
followed in single file by Elizabeth Williams, 1 her 

1 The daughter of a former dependant of the Chatham family. She 
and her sisters owed their education to the liberality of Mr. Pitt. 
Elizabeth Williams was a most faithful and attached servant. 

1803-1810] EXCURSION IN WALES 85 

maid, Betsy Jones, and young Mr. Price, while the 
groom, leading a sumpter horse with panniers, brought 
up the rear. Cheerful, affable, and indulgent, Lady 
Hester rendered this excursion delightful to all her 
companions. Mr. Thomas Price sometimes murmured 
a little at the rearward place assigned to him in the 
procession, having a particular aversion to the vicinity of 
the panniers, but upon sending forward a remonstrance 
along the line, he seldom failed to gain permission 
to ride where he liked, which, of course, was by Lady 
Hester's side. Her liveliness, kindliness, and genial 
humour, won confidence and affection wherever she 
went. She liked to assemble smiling faces and gay 
spirits around her, and rejoiced in opportunities of 
communicating pleasure. Lord Kensington's family 
happened that summer to be sojourning at another 
inn of the same town, and Lady Hester kept up habits 
of friendly intercourse with them, and with all other 
persons of rank and station, or of education and 
talents, who chanced to come in her way. The desire 
of action was her strongest incentive, and prompted 
her incessantly to direct and assist whatever works of 
skill and industry were carrying on around her. 
Medicine was her favourite study, and she took a 
benevolent pleasure in practising the art. A child of 
Lord Kensington's having, while at Builth, accidentally 
swallowed an earring, Lady Hester instantly sent a 
prescription for the case, with exact verbal directions 
for the proper treatment of the patient. . . . 

" Lady Hester sought in Wales to become the 
acknowledged and admired queen of her company, and 
she received their willing homage most graciously. 
She was very compassionate and bountiful to the 
poor; besides medicine and money, she gave away 
among them great quantities of flannel, and of the 
coarse grey cloth made by the neighbouring weavers. 
Her address and manners were most attractive and 
conciliating, but she was neither beautiful nor hand- 
some in any degree. Her visage was long, very full 
and flat about the lower part, and quite pale, bearing 


altogether a strong resemblance to the portraits and 
busts of Mr. Pitt." 

This likeness my father always stoutly denied. 
She had left Wales at the approach of winter, but 
spoke of returning the next year ; not, however, to 
Builth, but to a farmhouse in the neighbouring Glen 
Irfon, which she had discovered in one of her rides. 

How much was to happen in the interval ! The 
tragedy of her life had filled it up. What days and 
weeks and months of trial and tribulation she had 
passed through since then ! What a changed woman 
she felt herself to be, saddened, disillusioned, em- 
bittered, sore at heart, and broken down in health and 
spirits ! The holiday tour of the year before seemed 
to have receded miles away into the far distance. Yet 
now, in her great dejection, her thoughts travelled 
back to Glen Irfon. She wanted quiet and solitude, 
and she made up her mind that no place would suit 
her as well. She accordingly wrote to ask the Rev. 
Rice Price (the father of her young friend) to make 
the necessary arrangements. 1 have given the letter 
in full, to show how very few and simple were her 
requirements. Would a lady of the present day have 
been content with so little ? 

Lady Hester to the Rev. Rice Price 


" April 24//fc, 1809. 

" DEAR SIR, You cannot be ignorant of the severe 
afflictions which it has pleased God to visit me with 
since I left Builth. I have suffered, as you may 
imagine, most severely, both in mind and body. Some 
little time ago, I thought I had almost decided to visit 
some of my relations in Scotland this summer, but 
have been so unwell of late, that I find I am unequal 
to the journey, and now propose again trying the 
waters and air of Builth. May I trouble you to give 
Mrs. Price, of Glen Irfon, 1 the enclosed paper, which 
contains the conditions on which I shall become her 
' The wife of a farmer ; no relation of the clergyman's, 


lodger, if she agrees to them ? You will read them 
first, and I hope you will think them fair ones. I have 
entered into minute details, as I was so tormented last 
year ; not that I in the least suspect Mrs. Price to be 
of the same imposing disposition as those I had to 
deal with before, only I like great exactness in doing 
business ; it has always been my practice, and if ever 
I have deviated from it, I have had occasion to repent 
it. If I get pretty well, I must go to Ireland to visit 
the Duke and Duchess of Richmond, and may be 
away six weeks or two months ; at all events I shall 
not occupy my lodgings all the time I take them for, 
but I like to ensure them." 

Enclosed were her requirements very far from 

" I want the parlour, the little room above it for my 
bedroom, and the little room next for a dressing-room, 
a door to be made near the window to communicate 
with the bedroom. The room over the kitchen for my 
maids, and a bed, in the loft or elsewhere, for a boy. The 
parlour must have two rush chairs or wooden ones, 
and be carpeted all over with green baize, or coarse 
grey cloth, like soldiers' great-coats, a table to dine on, 
a fly-table, and shelves for books. The bedroom must 
have two chairs, a table no bed, as I shall bring 
down a camp bed and furniture complete. Bedside 
carpets I shall expect to find, and a chest of drawers. 
The dressing-room must have two chairs, and a table 
with a looking-glass, two wash-hand basins, two 
water jugs, one large stone pitcher for water, two 
large tumbler glasses, and two large cups for soap, 
a tin kettle for warm water, and a little strip of carpet 
before the table. ... I shall want no attendance from 
any part of the family. ... If Mrs. Price chooses to 


put things in this order, I will give her 25 for part of 
the months of May, June, July, August, September, 
and part of October in short, the season. I certainly 
shall not be there all the time." 

Mrs. Price agreed, and Lady Hester arrived before 
the house was quite ready for her. 

" Masons and other workmen were still busy at 
Glen Irfon, and with the sanction of the landlord of 
the premises, Lady Hester undertook to superintend, 
direct, and expedite their tardy operations. 

" The house of Glen Irfon has gables in front, and 
is faced with dark slate-coloured tile-stones over- 
lapping each other. The only parlour lies to the left 
hand in entering, the best kitchen to the right, and a 
narrow hall between them. The staircase is good, 
broad, and easy of ascent, having the balustrades and 
the steps of dark polished oak. Lady Hester's bedroom 
is small, and the adjacent dressing-room still smaller. 

" She brought with her into Wales a coach, which 
she kept at the ' Royal Oak' in readiness for particular 
occasions, and had a lighter carriage better adapted 
for country roads with her at Glen Irfon, where she 
also kept two saddle-horses and a cow. The latter 
was named Prettyface, and Lady Hester amused her- 
self with managing this favourite's dairy produce. 
She successfully skimmed the milk, churned the 
cream, and washed the gutter with her own hands, 
but she never attempted to make cheese. She never 
drank Chinese tea, but took in its stead, twice a day, 
an infusion of fresh balm leaves." 

One of the horses, at least, was not her own. 

" I shall write to you again before I come down," 
she tells Mrs. Price ; " but should a groom and a 

1803-1810] GLEN IRFON 89 

stallion of my brother's come first, I shall trouble you 
to find a place for the horse where he can be safe. . . . 
This stallion I have a great respect for, as he carried 
my brother about two thousand miles, and has been 
in battle. It is the best-tempered, good little creature 
that can be, and came from Poland. James gave fifty 
guineas for him, and he is worth it, for he tired out all 
the English horses, and went nine hundred miles with- 
out resting one day, only a few hours at a time, and 
never got a feed of corn the whole time, only peas. His 
feet now are grown tender, and I want him to be 
turned out soon in some safe, low land to cool them." 

Lady Hester did not go to Ireland, but spent the 
summer in her primitive lodgings at Glen Irfon, with 
the tiny parlour " not more than a dozen feet square." 
She liked both the place and the people, and was 
deservedly popular in the neighbourhood. Her chief 
friends were the clergyman and his youngest son 
Thomas, who attributed many of his youthful efforts 
at self-improvement to her influence. Betsy Jones, 
" the sprightly, good-tempered girl of thirteen," in 
after life read Lady Hester's 'Memoirs' with great 
indignation. " She could not believe that so free and 
kind and jolly a lady could ever have become so 
unamiably harsh and severe as she is there repre- 
sented to have been, nor did she find it possible to 
identify or recognise any likeness in a picture which 
assigns to Lady Hester the strange attribute of 
a pipe." 

She had come into Wales " disappointed and 
mortified, aggrieved and saddened . . . ostensibly in 
search of health, but in reality of peace and consola- 
tion." How far she succeeded in obtaining either it is 
impossible to say. But she probably found solace in 
the scenery, the fine mountain air, the free country 
life, and her long rambles on horseback. 

The following letter was to a friend who was 
entirely in Mr. Pitt's confidence, and had formed part 
of his first Administration : 


Lady Hester to Mr. Rose 

" September 13^, 1809. 

" DEAR MR. ROSE, Have not events proved how 
just was the abuse I bestowed upon Lord Chatham 
and upon Ministers, and what a day of judgment to 
them will be the meeting of Parliament? I always 
say to you, if I speak at all, just what I think, just 
what I wish, and you never take anything ill ; there- 
fore I shall tell you at once that, after deep considera- 
tion, I cannot help feeling uneasy at the prospect of 
your suffering in the eyes of the world for the faults 
committed by your party. They must fall ere long, 
branded with infamy, and I wish to God, as you have 
no love for office, you would not disguise your dis- 
approbation when a proper opportunity offers to 
publicly demonstrate it. I can have no interest in 
what I am advising but your welfare ; if I am wrong, 
it is you who are to correct me, but not blame the 
feeling which dictates these opinions. I must now 
thank you for having relieved the mind of the poor 
fidgety old man who was the subject of my last letter, 
which you must have received some time after date, as 
I find it missed one day's post, being too late, and in 
the part of the world I was then in it only comes in 
and goes out three times a week. Upon General 
Clinton's mission being at an end, James came down 
to me; he spent some time at Glen Irfon, and since 
then we have been to Swansea. He has just left me 
to relieve Lord A. Somerset, and I am again become 
a wanderer. I am now writing from an inn a stage 
from Margam, the most beautiful place I have ever 
seen, though the house has been pulled down. If the 
new one Mr. Talbot talks of building equals the 
grounds in beauty and magnificence, Margam will 
certainly be the most delightful residence in His 

1803-1810] MARGAM 91 

Majesty's dominions. As Mrs. and Miss Rose are so 
fond of plants, it would be almost worth their while to 
take a journey on purpose to look at these at Margam. 
Some of the old orange-trees were wrecked upon the 
coast in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and are now so 
hardy they stand out from May till the end of October, 
and one might almost fancy oneself in a grove in Italy, 
for I think there are more than six hundred of them. 
Tulip-trees as large as fine oaks, and all the other 
flowering trees in proportion. I suppose Miss R. 
would tell me that a bay-tree was a shrub, but when 
they grow fifty-six feet high, I think they are no longer 
to be called so. I suppose you have read James 
Moore's book ; l it is interesting, because authentic, 
but most shockingly written, to be sure. Two things 
he never should have done, published Napier's con- 
versations with the French Generals, or left out one 
word in his brother's letters, for all he said was just, 
and events will (prove ?) it to have been so. We 
already see that Sir A. Wellesley, so famous for 
indulging his troops, speaks very harshly of the 
conduct of several officers ; and we shall see, if we 
have not already seen enough, how useless it is to 
send more troops to Spain. Frere is certainly dis- 
graced for ever ; his birth was always, in my opinion, 
a sufficient reason against sending him Ambassador 
to the proudest nation in the world. Nobody who 
knows him can deny he has talents, but conceit and 
indolence prevent their being turned to account ; and 
since his conduct towards General Moore, I shall 
never be able to endure the sight of him. But 
Canning and he have both equally forgotten the 
respect due to those Mr. Pitt thought highly of, for 
had General Moore been General Don, they ought to 

1 His Life of Sir John Moore. 


have been the last persons in the world to have treated 
him as they did during his life, and to have forgotten 
the respect due to a soldier's memory, who lost his 
valuable life in endeavouring to repair their MOST 


" When I began, I meant only to write a short 
letter, but I have ceased to recollect I was writing, not 

On leaving Glen Irfon, " Lady Hester treated her 
hostess with great liberality, and left many permanent 
improvements, fixtures, and articles of furniture 
behind her. The bath which she had fixed in her 
dressing-room was long afterwards used as a corn- 
bin." She also committed to Mrs. Price's care two 
portraits, one of Mr. Pitt and one of the Duke of York, 
enjoining her " never to deliver them up to any 
person without a written order from herself." But 
they were never reclaimed. 

Lady Hester had not only regained her health in 
the Welsh mountains, but matured her plans for the 
future. She had determined to give up her house in 
Montagu Square and go abroad. London and the 
London world disgusted her ; and she felt it impossible 
to resume the life she had led hitherto. All the zest 
and interest was gone out of it ; there seemed nothing 
left for her to take up again. Many of her friends had 
disappointed, and some had deserted her; with some 
she was out of touch, and with others in open antagon- 
ism. She had now neither power nor influence ; and 
politics had become a hateful theme, for she found no 
words strong enough to denounce the Ministers and 
their conduct of affairs. Whatever they did, or left 
undone, chafed, vexed, and displeased her. The 
country had not paid her lost hero the honour that 
was his due ; a new General had taken his place and 
was gaining its applause ; it was fickle, unjust, and 
ungrateful. Everything seemed to be amiss and out 
of gear in this troublesome and perplexing world ; and 
her words were unheeded, her advice ignored, she could 
only look on and lament. James was soon to rejoin his 
regiment in Spain ; why should she not go with him ? 
The change would be very welcome, and do her good. 




I DO not for a moment believe that she contemplated 
leaving England for good and all. Her plan was to 
spend a year or two in Sicily, then under English 
rule, and, as the Continent was closed to travellers, 
one of the very few resorts then left to them. As her 
health, never very strong, had been severely tried of 
late, she judged it advisable to take with her a medical 
man, and, on the recommendation of an eminent 
surgeon, engaged a young physician of the name of 
Meryon as her travelling companion. It was not a 
happy choice. Eight-and-twenty years afterwards she 
thus sums up her experience of him in a letter to Lord 
Hardwicke. " Should you see the Doctor in England 
recollect that his only good quality in my sight is, 
I believe, being very honest in money matters. No 
other do I grant him ; without judgment, without 
heart, he goes through the world, like many others, 
blundering his way, and often, from his want of 
accuracy, doing mischief every time he opens his 
mouth.' Were not these words prophetic ? 

With this doctor, her brother James and his friend 
Mr. Nassau Sutton, her maid Elizabeth Williams, and 
a man-servant, Lady Hester left England on February 
loth, 1810, little dreaming that it was to be for ever. 
What would she have felt if she had known where 
she was going for the rest of her life ? Would she 
have imagined it possible that she was to end her 
days as a hermit on a Syrian mountain-top ? No fairy 



tale ever invented could have sounded more wildly 

The party embarked at Portsmouth in the Jason 
frigate, commanded by Captain the Honourable James 
King, who had under convoy a little fleet of transports 
and merchantmen bound for Gibraltar. This rendered 
the passage a very tedious one, for they were a whole 
month at sea, and encountered heavy gales off the 
Spanish coast, narrowly escaping shipwreck on the 
shoals of Trafalgar. On their arrival at Gibraltar, Lady 
Hester and her brother were received at the Convent 
by the Governor, General Campbell, and met there 
the Marquis of Sligo and Mr. Michael Bruce, who 
were afterwards to become her travelling companions. 
The Rock was then crowded with English visitors, 
besides Spanish refugees with their families, and 
entertainments and amusements were the order of 
the day. Soon after, however, the party separated. 
Captain Stanhope was summoned to join the Guards 
at Cadiz, Mr. button went on business to Minorca, 
and Lady Hester, finding (according to the doctor) 
her health unequal to the gaieties of a garrison town, 
accepted the offer of a passage in the Cerberus frigate 
to Malta. 

Here she was expected, and received offers of 
hospitality on every side, including a very cordial one 
from the Governor, General (afterwards Sir Hilde- 
brand) Oakes, who showed her every possible kind- 
ness and attention. She elected to go and stay at the 
former Auberge de France, with the Deputy Com- 
missary-General, Mr. Fernandez, who had married the 
sister of Elizabeth Williams, 1 and was an old acquaint- 
ance of hers. 

Valetta, again, was full of English, who, shut out 
from the Continent, resorted in crowds to the Medi- 
terranean, and the hospitable Governor delighted in 
entertaining them. The palace was always gay with 
company, and the young doctor records in his journal, 
with honest pride, that he once sat down to dinner 
exactly opposite to the General, " with a string of 
Lords and Ladies and Counts and Countesses on 
either hand." Sheridan was there, Lady Hester's 
cousin, Lord Ebrington, and Lord and Lady Bute, 

1 When Lady Hester left Malta, Elizabeth was left behind with her 
sister, and Mrs. Anne Fry engaged to supply her place. 


who occupied Sant' Antonio, one of the Governor's 
country houses. When they left for England at the 
end of May, he placed it at Lady Hester's disposal, 
and she spent two months in this most delightful of 
summer palaces, surrounded by beautiful gardens and 
orange groves. But the great heat disagreed with 
her, and she became anxious to move. She found 
that she must give up all thoughts of Sicily, on 
account of a threatened invasion by Murat, which was 
then preparing in Calabria, and might take place at 
any moment. She then turned her thoughts to the 
East the only choice that was in fact left to her. But 
travelling in those countries was difficult and even 
venturesome ; she was advised that she must not 
attempt to go without an escort, and her brother, 
being on duty in Spain, was of course not available. 
At this juncture Mr. Michael Bruce, whose acquaint- 
ance she had made at Gibraltar, came forward to offer 
his services, which she willingly accepted. He was 
one of the three knights errant that effected Laval- 
lette's escape from prison on the night before his 
intended execution ; a clever, ambitious man, familiar 
with every kind of travel and adventure, and both able 
and willing (as the event proved) to be of the greatest 
use to her. His friend Mr. Pearce, and Lord Sligo, 
who was then yachting in the Mediterranean, were to 
join them later on. 

Lady Hester took leave of the Governor with 
unfeigned regret. They had become fast friends ; he 
had visited her every day at Sant' Antonio, and 
rendered her every service in his power. At the eve 
of her departure she sends him a box as a keepsake. 
" If it occasionally puts you in mind of me I shall be 
much flattered. Were I in France, where they work 
so admirably, I might be able to offer you one more 
worthy of your acceptance, for I should order that 
a little bird should pop up with a spring and sing a 
little hymn daily expressive of my gratitude for the 
kindness you have shown me." They never met 
again, but continued in close correspondence 1 till he 
returned to England in 1815. 

She had again the good fortune to be conveyed in a 
man-of-war, for she and her party left Malta on 

1 A collection of her letters to him (from which I have made many 
extracts) appeared in Co/turn's New Monthly Magazine in 1843. 


August 2nd in the Belle Poule frigate, at the invitation 
of Captain Brisbane, and were landed on the 8th at 
Zante. Here they remained a fortnight. Another 
courteous General then forwarded them in a Govern- 
ment transport to Patras, where Lord Sligo joined 
them, and they all embarked together in a felucca for 
Corinth. Proceeding thence, they crossed the Isthmus 
in an imposing cavalcade twenty-four riders in all ; 
for the Marquis travelled with a retinue that would 
make the impoverished Irish landlords of the present 
day open their eyes. He had with him a Tartar, two 
superbly arrayed Albanians, equipped with silver- 
stocked pistols and silver-hilted yataghans, a drago- 
man, an artist, to sketch views and costumes, a Turkish 
cook, and three English servants, two of them in 
livery ! I fear these footmen must have rather marred 
the general effect. All, except Lady Hester and her 
English maid, were armed to the teeth. 

At the little harbour of Keukri they again embarked 
for Athens, and as they entered the Piraeus, observed 
some one springing from the mole into the sea. " That's 
Lord Byron ! " cried Lord Sligo, and forthwith hailing 
him, he bade him hurry on shore and dress to meet 
them as they landed. They were old college friends, 
and Lady Hester saw a good deal of the poet during 
the weeks she spent at Athens. A private house had 
been emptied of its tenants to be prepared for her, and 
here her friends used to meet every evening, Lord 
Byron being among them. But she was not charmed 
either with him or his poetry. " He was a strange 
character; his generosity was for a motive, his avarice 
for a motive. One time he was mopish, and no one 
was to speak to him ; another, he was for being jocular 
with everybody. At Athens I saw nothing in him but 
a well-bred man, like many others ; for, as for his 
poetry, it is easy enough to write verses, and as to 
the thoughts, who knows where he got them ? Many 
a one picks up some old book that nobody knows 
anything about, and gets his ideas out of it." 

They remained at Athens rather more than a month, 
and left for Constantinople on October i6th, this time 
not in a smart frigate, but in a filthy Greek polacca, 
laden with wheat part of the tribute paid to Kislar 
Aga by his Athenian subjects. They encountered a 
gale of wind in the Sea of Marmora ; and the Greek 

i8io-i8i2] CONSTANTINOPLE 97 

sailors, leaving their vessel to its fate, at once set 
about collecting money from the passengers, and tying 
it up in a handkerchief, fastened it to the tiller, vowing 
to offer it at St. George's shrine if they reached any 
port in safety. They did, by the blessing of Provi- 
dence, reach Erakli, in the Gulf of Rodosto, where, 
after this experience of Greek seamanship, Lady 
Hester wisely disembarked, and proceeded to Con- 
stantinople in a caique. She arrived at Tophane in 
the middle of the night, and was carried in a Sedan 
chair preceded by a man with a huge lantern (for the 
streets were then unlighted) up the steep hill of Pera 
to the house that had been hurriedly prepared for her. 
But she by no means approved of it, and soon after 
removed to Therapia, on the Bosphorus,' where she 
established herself for the winter. From thence she 
writes to General Oakes, on December 21 st: 

" Since the fire at Pera good houses are so scarce that 
I have taken up my abode at this place, where I have 
a fine view of the coast of Asia and the Black Sea. 
Lord Sligo and Bruce are about to set out on a tour ; 
the latter returns here in a few weeks, but my Lord, 
out of respect to you, means to take his passage to 
Malta by the first opportunity, and return to us in 
the spring. . . . Canning has behaved to me in the 
civilest, kindest manner possible, but has never once 
mentioned his cousin's name." 

This was the " great Elchi " of the future, created in 
1852 Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, who had just 
succeeded Mr. Adair as Minister Plenipotentiary at 
Constantinople. In the " Memoirs " quoted by his 
biographer, Stanley Poole, he thus describes their 
meeting : 

" Lady Hester Stanhope brought with her all the 
interest which attaches to a person of her sex remark- 
ible for talent, and nearly connected with a great 
public character. Not only was she the niece of Mr. 


Pitt, but she had lived for a time under the same 
roof with that unspotted Minister in the full intimacy 
of close relationship and daily intercourse. She had 
known many whose names were familiar to me, and 
some with whom I was personally acquainted. She 
had seen much of Mr. Canning. On these several 
accounts her conversation had strong attractions for 
me, notwithstanding its measureless exuberance and 
the not unfrequent singularities it displayed. Her 
travelling staff was composed of Michael Bruce, who 
acquired no little celebrity by the generous part he 
took in promoting the escape of M. Lavallette, of Mr. 
Pearce, the reputed son of Fox's friend Hare, and her 
physican Dr. Merriman (Meryon), who subsequently 
published a sketch of her life. She hired a house at 
Therapia and spent the winter there. 

" She told me sundry curious anecdotes of her 
uncle and others too many, in fact, to be remembered 
at this distance of time. Speaking of Mr. Pitt, she 
said that during his retreat from office he showed no 
signs of discontent or restlessness ; that although she 
had slept under his bedroom at Walmer she never 
heard the sound of his footfall after the hour an early 
one at which he had retired. She told me that he 
always expressed the highest admiration of his father, 
taking for himself, comparatively, a more humble 
position than she was inclined to admit. She spoke 
of the carelessness with which he often left his papers, 
either scattered about the room, or at best stowed 
away under the cushions of his sofa. General Moore 
appeared to be her idol, and she took an evident 
pleasure in talking of him. In proof of his truthful- 
ness and sagacity, she said that on taking leave of his 
Minister (Lord Castlereagh), under whose instructions 
he was to act in the command of our forces in Spain, 


he declared, with his hand upon the lock of the door, 
that he had no faith in the expedition and apprehended 
a failure. She added that General Phipps had made 
a call one day, and the conversation turning on Sir 
John Moore, that he had sought to disparage that 
officer in Mr. Pitt's estimation, and that she, perceiving 
his design, had said, ' You imagine, General, that Mr. 
Pitt does not greatly value Sir John's abilities, but 
learn from me, you nasty kangaroo ' alluding to 
General Phipps's paralytic infirmity, and imitating 
his manner of holding his hands ' that there is no 
one in the King's army whose services he appreciates 
more highly.' 'Lady Hester! Lady Hester! what 
are you saying ? ' exclaimed Mr. Pitt, with an ill- 
suppressed smile which betrayed his secret enjoyment 
of the scene." 

I can never believe that he enjoyed hearing a poor 
paralysed officer called "a nasty kangaroo." 

Many notes and letters preserved among Lord 
Stratford's papers show the friendly terms they were 
upon. Some things which she did he distinctly dis- 
approved of, and frankly told her so. She, on her part, 
freely joked him for what she called his primosify 
the grave formality of manner, certainly unusual in 
so young a man. Here are some extracts from this 
correspondence. Unfortunately, none of the letters are 
dated : 

Lady Hester to Mr. S. Canning 

" I have a thousand thanks to return to you for the 
wine you were so good as to send. I feel this kind 
attention like all those I have received at your hands 
since my residence in this part of the world. We have 
all been ill in the house, therefore I have postponed 
saying I shall be happy to see you. If it is convenient 
for you to ride down on Friday, I hope you will call 
for an hour and settle some day to dine here next 


week. I mention Friday, because Mr. Pisani threatens 
a visit Saturday or Sunday." 

" Should you receive any intelligence from Cadiz, 
it would be very kind of you to give me a little in- 
formation, for I am so anxious about my brother ; in 
his last letter he tells me there is a fever broke out, but 
it had not then reached Isla. I trust you will not quite 
crack your brain with politics, particularly Spanish 
politics, for you may depend upon it they are not worth 
thinking about, any further than individuals are con- 
cerned. If you had seen all those fools, called Generals, 
1 saw at Gibraltar you would think so likewise. 
Miranda has been invited to head the revolutionists 
in South America, and was to leave England the day 
after he wrote to me. If that country emancipates 
itself, what is to become of Spain ? and what are her 
present resources, drained as she has been by con- 
tending armies ? I like to take a grand view of things 
and look a little into futurity, yet dispassionately 
consider the present state of affairs. You may per- 
haps think me very impertinent to give my opinion 
thus uncalled for to an &c., &c., &c., but I always 
speak and write just what I think, even to princes. 
If my little notes from the banks of the Bosphorus 
please you, some day you may perhaps receive some 
from the banks of the Orinoco." 

" Mr. Pisani and I got on very well, and he has 
most politely sent me some fresh butter made in a 
bottle ; how got out in the dignified state in which I 
received it is about as great a wonder to me as that 
such a creature as Mr. Perceval should get into office, 
and become Prime Minister of England. I send you 
the third volume of Lord Chatham's ' Life ' ; how 
wonderfully the military anecdotes contained in it cut 
up the Generals of that day ! 1 wish I had the pen 

1810-1812] CONSTANTINOPLE 101 

of the writer, to lash those in the profession I most 
dislike ; to name them you might think undutiful." 

" If you have any news from Spain or Portugal, in 
charity send it me. I am so anxious for the arrival 
of letters, and when they come shall dread to open 
them. There is no saying what trials may still be in 
reserve for me, and I have had enough. ... I am not 
going to flatter you, but some of your opinions are so 
like those of my great Oracle, that I send you his 
letters to his nephew, just to compare them." 

" I take the liberty of sending you Mr. Pitt's ' Life/ 
that you may refer to past times, as I fancy your 
mind, like mine, dwells with anxiety upon the present 
awkward situation of affairs at home. When you come 
here, we must look into my grandfather's life, which 
is my Bible. When so impatient with the gout that 
he could not bear any one to approach him, he had 
me, a little child in arms, laid upon his bed for hours 
together, and when he sat up used to nurse me. I 
suppose this inspired me with a true love for politics, 
and a sovereign contempt for the world, which he 
possessed in the highest degree. 

" I have told the Doctor he might remain a few 
days longer at Pera, if Lord Plymouth requires his 
assistance. I never saw his Lordship, and I detest 
his mother, and only act towards him as I should do 
towards the most perfect stranger. Therefore pray 
do not make any fine speeches, for I should very 
much dislike to do anything which might in future 
bring on an acquaintance. But any medicines he 
cannot get here he is welcome to, and this you may 
assure him of in a simple way, as the Doctor's 
expressions are so very flowery when they do come 
out (and it is a long time first), that I cannot very 
well trust him with this commission." 


Lady Hester to Mr. S. Canning 
" I am much obliged to you for the papers, which 
I return ; nor am I angry at your scold. I only beg 
leave to ask you one question. When did four Turks, 
and one the brother of a Captain Pacha, visit and 
dine with a Christian woman ? I wore my sword 
with such an air that it has made a conquest of them 
all, and they begin to find their own women rather 
stupid (at least they say so, but men fib sadly) ; 
therefore I should recommend you to take advantage 
of this new discovery, and pack up one to take to 
England with you. For in good time I hope to de- 
stroy the gravity of these men, and then it will be a 
great satisfaction to the ladies who have been used to 
this quality to find you possess it in so high a degree. 
I am sorry to say, were I in my grave, it would be lost 
upon me. Look sharp, or I shall intrude myself under 
some strange form into the sanctuary you inhabit and 
burn all the papers, and unprimefy Sir H. Jones, who, 
if he was not a quiz before, must be turned into one 
from having been kept under lock and key, and bored to 
death with business ever since his arrival. I am sure 
I shall more than like Captain Barrie, if you will not 
stamp him with mystery and solemnity before I have 
made his acquaintance. The Doctor tells me that you 
were so improved with the small portion of country 
air you allowed yourself to breathe that I cannot but 
wish you could make it convenient to try a little 
more of it, and it would flatter me much if you put 
it in my power to watch the progress of its effect." 

" I return you your papers and letter with many 
thanks. The Cortes does not seem to be going on 
very well; but 1 never believe any statement in the 
Gibraltar Gazette, for I know for certain that articles 
for that paper have been fabricated in the Foreign 

1810-1812] CONSTANTINOPLE 103 

Office and sent out there to be printed, and afterwards 
recopied into English newspapers 'extracts of letters 
from Gibraltar from the Gibraltar Gazette' a pack of 
stuff about Spanish affairs. Besides, Kali at Gibraltar 
writes for these papers. I have often seen his pro- 
ductions before they were printed, and they were his 
from beginning to end. 

"As you are fond of reports, I must tell you one 
that is called a fact, and it comes from your enemies 
that the Austrians are displeased with the Emperor 
for having promised to pay eighty millions of florins 
with his daughter. Half he has paid, but when about 
to levy the rest, there was so much discontent created 
at Vienna, that he set off to Prague with four regiments 
of cavalry, La Tour (the famous Hussars), Stepships, 
Clino, and Wurtemberg so sound the names, but I 
cannot spell German. Should this be true, I suppose 
it will please you ; but I should say the Emperor was 
a great fool to leave the capital. I believe Prague 
could at one time send 60,000 men into the field. 
Now imagine the Emperor at the head of these troops, 
so attached to the English and the great cause, grant 
subsidies, when we have no money, and when five 
shillings are sold for seven at Malta, create a revo- 
lution in Germany to destroy the French interest, 
and send a General from the Horse Guards to 
organize an army, never considering he cannot get 
there without wings (which, when General Clinton 
was appointed, last summer twelvemonth, was totally 
forgotten, and in which well-imagined appointment I 
was not a little interested, as he chose my brother 
out of the whole army as the young man of the 
greatest resource he knew). Imagine all these things, 
and then you will have a pleasant diplomatic dream, 
and awake seeing everything en rose" 


Lady Hester to Mr. S. Canning 
" Perhaps I have been guilty of a little imprudence 
to-day, though I think I only acted justly. Complaints 
were made me of Lord Sligo's Albanian, who is a very 
reprobate fellow, and he thought proper last night to 
fire off his pistols in the street, contrary to the rule 
here. The guard threatened to put him into prison 
if it ever happened again, and I sent to say he was 
very welcome, if he disobeyed his orders and mine. 
The Doctor has since told me that you seemed to like 
to take the law in your own hands, and therefore it has 
just struck me that I may have done wrong, though 
I do not exactly see what you have to do with 
Albanians, for this fellow is not one of those given 
to Lord Sligo by the Vali Pacha, but a groom hired 
by the month. If I have erred, pray tell me so, and 
be assured it is through ignorance, and no disrespect 
to your power, or disregard to your wishes ; and be 
so good as to set the business right as soon as you 
can. Only oblige me by being severe with the 
Albanian, as it will save me much future trouble 
with the others, who, Lord S. once told me, he should 
leave under my care if he went to Persia alone." 

" I wish you joy of a victory so brilliant and so 
glorious to the British arms, but so useless as far 
as what relates to the grand cause. The conduct of 
the Spaniards has been quite as shameful as usual, 
and just what I expected. As to Massena, wait a 
little to see why he retreated before you are too 
much elevated. I rejoice you are likely to be set 
free, and I hope I shall have the pleasure of seeing 
you depart with a smiling face. I shall make war 
against nasty Frere. Mr. Listen I am rather inclined 
to think I shall like ; but it is little probable that he 
will show me more kindness and attention than you 

i8io-i8i2] DELIBACHES 105 

have done, which, though I do quiz you sometimes, 
I am perfectly sensible of, and shall ever acknowledge 
with gratitude. Quiz me in return, and take one good 
lesson before you go. When you are no longer a 
great man, I shall speak to you with more confidence ; 
you may think me strange, but I hope always a very 
honourable being. Now don't crack your brain ; the 
wise man speaketh in parables, so may therefore a 
silly woman. Having had such good news of my 
dearest brother puts me into spirits, and I could talk 
nonsense for the hour. . . . You ought to see this 
beautiful place " (Brusa) ; " but when no longer a 
great man you might fall in love with some of these 
very beautiful Turkish women, and that would be 
a great sin. I am quite delighted with everything 
here. Imagine ! I drank coffee the other day with 
a tribe of Delibaches. I thought it would give me 
an opportunity of examining these terrible people, and 
if they overtook me in my ride they would not murder 
me. 1 was quite right, for they all saluted me as an old 
friend, and each of them mumbled a civil speech. . . . 
There are great prospects of my dear Duke of York 
coming in again. He is not only the best friend a soldier 
ever had, but the best private friend in the world." 

After more than ten months of "very pleasant 
intercourse," Mr. Canning and Lady Hester had a 
bitter quarrel. She, it seems, "was dying to see 
Napoleon with her own eyes," and privately made 
interest with the French charge d'affaires, M. de 
Latour-Maubourg, to obtain a passport to France. 
This plan was kept secret ; but one day, a spy 
employed by the English Minister brought him word 
that Lady Hester had been seen walking on the 
shores of the Bosphorus with M. de Latour-Maubourg, 
and he went straight to her house to demand an expla- 
nation. She told him the truth, " and explained the 
secrecy of the interviews by her desire to keep the 


English Minister out of the business, which she felt 
might embarrass him ; but added that if Mr. Liston 
or any ' old stager ' were at the Porte, she would have 
no compunction in giving him trouble." This allu- 
sion to his youth and inexperience he was then but 
twenty-four, ten years younger than Lady Hester 
very naturally nettled him, and he required her either 
to ask the permission of His Majesty's Government, 
or to await the arrival of the French Ambassador, 
before seeing M. de Maubourg again. She declined 
to do either; and he announced, in high dudgeon, 
that neither he nor any member of the English Mission 
would enter her house again. Lady Hester gave him 
her hand at parting, and said it would make no 
difference in her sentiments towards him. 

But the following morning she sent him a copy 
of the letter she had written to Lord Wellesley (in 
anticipation of his taking a similar course), which 
raised his exasperation to the highest pitch. It 
was enclosed with the following note : " That your 
Excellency may be aware that deceit forms no part 
of my character, I enclose a copy of a letter to Lord 
Wellesley. I wish people in England neither to blame 
nor pity the situation in which you have placed me, 
and if I defend myself not exactly in the way most 
pleasing to you, recollect it is your conduct which 
has made it necessary." 

She began her letter by saying that she wished 
to go to France "for her health," and that M. de 
Maubourg had written for passports for her journey. 
Had Mr. Adair, or one of nis character, been at the 
Porte, she would have told him of her plan. 

Lady Hester to Lord Wellesley 

" But Mr. Canning is young and inexperienced, full 
of zeal, but full of prejudice. I guessed, therefore, 
what might be the line of conduct he would pursue 
on such an occasion. Respecting, as I do, his many 
virtues, I do not wish to quarrel with him, or appear 
openly to disregard his authority, or publicly to 
ridicule the very idea of any person presuming to 
doubt my patriotism ; because I despise the idea of 

1810-1812] QUARREL WITH S. CANNING 107 

war with individuals, and also cannot but lament a 
fault too common in most of our public men that of 
seeing things in the light they wish them to be, not as 
they are, and trying to impose this fallacy upon the 
public mind, which, when discovered, must sooner or 
later destroy the degree of confidence they ought to 
possess. The above reason induced me to see M. de M. 
privately, who is also very young for his situation, 
but which his talents fully qualify him to fill. Nothing 
can have been more candid, more honourable and 
delicate, than his conduct upon this occasion. He 
lost no time in writing to Paris for passports, and his 
answer may be expected any day. 

" Not long ago, Mr. Canning's spy, who I saw was 
pursuing me for some time, communicated to his 
employer that he had seen M. de M. and myself 
walking together upon the coast of Asia. This led 
Mr. Canning to enquire into the business, the whole 
of which I communicated to him, and my reasons for 
having kept it a secret. He has thought it his duty 
to take leave of me, and also to forbid any of those 
persons belonging to him to visit me, which, as far 
as it affects my comfort, is of no consequence, as they 
were all horribly dull (except M. Pisani, who is a man 
of information and merit); and, as far as relates to 
my politics, I flatter myself that it is not in the power 
of Mr. Canning or any other person to cast any reflec- 
tion upon them that would be credited in this or any 
other country much less in my own. 

"Although it is evident that Mr. C. has not been 
educated in your Lordship's school of gallantry, yet I 
give him full credit for acting from the most upright 
and conscientious principles; and if his zeal has 
carried him a little too far, there is no one so willing 
to forgive it as I am, or so little inclined to attempt 


to turn him from what he considers to be the execu- 
tion of his duty. Affectation nor fear has in no degree 
influenced my line of conduct towards him ; and if I 
have acted with more moderation than is usual to me, 
it proceeds from what may (though true) sound like 
conceit to confess the persuasion that Mr. Canning 
and I do not stand upon equal grounds, and that he 
is by no means a match for me, were I determined 
to revenge what to others carries the appearance of 
insult. But as he is both a religious and political 
Methodist, after having appeared to doubt my love 
for my country, he will next presume to teach me 
my duty to my God ! 

" Before I conclude, I must request your Lordship 
not to receive Mr. C. with dry bows and wry faces, 
or allow the fine ladies to toss him in a blanket. The 
best reward for his services would be to appoint him 
Commander-in-Chief at home and Ambassador Extra- 
ordinary abroad to the various societies for the 
suppression of vice, and cultivation of patriotism. 
The latter consists in putting one's self in greater 
convulsions than the dervishes at the mention of 
Buonaparte's name." 

No man likes to be quizzed and called a prig, and 
Stratford Canning was notoriously the least patient 
of men; but what most galled him in Lady Hester's 
letter was its tone of kindly patronage. " Nothing 
more ingeniously malicious could have been devised, ' 
says his biographer. "A horrible vision of its going 
the round of the Cabinet in a red despatch box rose 
before his eyes, and he wrote to his cousin, who, 
though out of office, was in close relations with Lord 
Wellesley, and begged him, if Lady Hester carried 
out her threat, to set him right with the Foreign 
Secretary and any one else whose opinion was worth 
considering. . . . George Canning wrote that so far 
as he knew, it had never reached the Foreign Office." 

i8io-i8ia] CONSTANTINOPLE 109 

But 1 fully believe it was sent, and she mentions a 
copy that went to General Oakes at Malta. 

Even before the final breach, there had been a 
certain amount of friction between the belligerents. 

" I believe," she writes, " that C. is jealous. ... I 
have made my own way with the Turks, and I have 
contrived to get upon so intimate a footing, that the 
Pacha's brother, brother-in-law, and Captain of the 
Fleet, dined with us, accompanied by their confidential 
physician. This may not sound like a compliment; 
but see the Captain Pacha's brother, bending under 
a tree in a public walk! He neither notices Greek, 
Armenian, or Frank women of any kind, but looks at 
them all as if they were sheep in a field, and they dare 
not come near him, as his attendants form a circle 
which they never pass, but stand and look at him for 
an hour together. I must likewise tell you that C. 
has been much shocked at my having gone on board 
the fleet in men's clothes : a pair of over-alls, a military 
great coat, and cocked hat, is so much less decent a 
dress than that of a real fine lady in her shift and 
gown, and half-naked besides! The Captain Pacha 
said I was welcome to go, but I must change my 
dress, and I certainly thought it worth while. I 
closely examined everything; and as I understand a 
little about a ship, it was not quite a useless visit. 
. . . To give you an idea of the narrowness of this 
man's " (Canning's) " mind, when I praised M. de Mau- 
bourg, and said even himself could not but confess the 
French charge d'affaires had never done a dirty thing, 
and was considered, even by his enemies, as dis- 
interested and pure, he was obliged to agree; but 
added, had he been a man of principle, he could never 
live under the orders of a tyrant. I said, ' What 
was he or any other Frenchman to do?' He replied, 

i io LORD SLIGO [CH. in 

4 Leave France for England.' ' And what to do there ? ' 
said I. ' Live upon bread and water ! ' he answered. 
God knows we have too many Frenchmen in England 
already to wish for more." 

Let me hasten to add that the quarrel was soon 
made up. Mr. Canning bore no malice ; and when, on 
leaving Constantinople, she was shipwrecked on the 
island of Rhodes, he assisted her by every means in 
his power, and she wrote him a grateful letter of 
acknowledgment, accompanied by a little peace-offer- 
ing (see p. 132). 

Lady Hester to Mr. S. Canning 

"March qth, 1811. 

" I have received a letter from my disagreeable 
cousin Wynn l (at least, every person thinks him so ; 
and it is so long since I have seen him, that I almost 
forget what he is like only remember he is ugly). 
W. sends me, as I had reason to believe, a present 
from the Duchess of Rutland ; but, alas ! the box was 
empty. He says he shall be here next month, and 
then I shall make him account for having lost my 
trinket. Lord Sligo we expect every day from 
Smyrna. I fear he has got into a sad scrape about 
the deserters he took on board his brig ; but, as he 
has been involved by the lies of traders, and of 
Mr. John or James the footman, I trust the naval men 
will hear reason, as I am sure he intended no dis- 
respect to the service, though he has been very, very 
imprudent ; and it has been difficult to make him 
attach sufficient importance, which he began by laugh- 
ing at, and thinking fine fun. ... I find a great many 
English are expected here in the spring. The weather 
within these few days has been quite heavenly, and 
I propose to myself great pleasure in riding a new 

1 Afterwards Sir Henry Wynn, and for many years our Minister at 
Copenhagen. He married my mother's sister, Hester Smith. 

i8io-i8i2] BRUSA ui 

horse (now breaking for me) that Bruce brought 
from Asia." 

Early in May she went to Brusa and spent two 
happy months in that terrestrial paradise. 

Lady Hester to Mr. S. Canning 

"June 2nd, 1811. 

" How I wish you were here to enjoy this delicious 
climate and the finest country I ever beheld. Italy is 
nothing to it in point of magnificence. The town of 
Brusa is situated at the foot of Mount Olympus ; it 
is one of the largest towns, and may be considered 
the capital of Asia Minor. The houses are, like all 
Turkish houses, bad in themselves, but so interspersed 
with trees and mosques that the whole has a fine 
effect. The view is quite delightful, over an immense 
plain more rich and beautiful than anything I ever 
saw, covered with trees, shrubs, and flowers of all 
descriptions. The rides are charming, and the horses 
better than any of those I have met out of England. 
... By this time Lord Sligo will have reached Malta. 
I hope you admire his Albanians ; they are not all 
such frights as those he has with him. Their dress 
I think extraordinarily handsome. If you leave Malta, 
you must not come here, for you would fall in love if 
you did. How beautiful are these Asiatic women ! 
They go to the bath from fifty to five hundred to- 
gether; and when I was bathing the other day, the 
wife of a deposed Pacha begged I would finish my 
bathing at a bath half a mile off, that she might have 
the pleasure of my society ; but this I declined. They 
bathe with all their ornaments on trinkets, I mean 
and when finished, they bind up their hair with flowers 
and eat and talk for hours, then fumble up their faces, 
all but the eyes, and sit under the trees till the evening." 


Mr. North (afterwards Lord Guilford) and his 
nephew, Mr. Frederick Douglas, came to stay with 
her at Brusa. In July she returned to Constanti- 
nople, and on August 2/th writes from Bebec, on the 
Bosphorus, that she is " happy and comfortable, and 
quite another creature to what I was at Malta. A 
very short time will now decide to what part of the 
world we shall bend our steps." She had decided not 
to spend another winter at Constantinople, and if she 
had received her French passports (for I need hardly 
say that M. de Maubourg's application was unsuc- 
cessful), would certainly have gone to Italy, for she 
speaks of her "great hopes of getting to Rome 
perhaps even to France." How different the whole 
course of her life might, indeed must, have been, had 
she bent her steps Westwards ! " The long-promised 
bridle accompanies this letter. I fear you will not 
like it much, but it is of the newest fashion. There 
are two sorts of bridles here, such as I send, of various 
descriptions and colours, and those made for very 
great men, of solid silver, weighing, some of them, 
twelve or fifteen pounds, which their own stallions 
can just bear the weight of during some grand pro- 
cession. In the hand these bridles are the most 
magnificent thing you can imagine, but they are so 
confused with chains and ornaments, that they bury 
a horse's head, and have little effect. I have sent a 
red one to my brother, but I thought that a dark one 
would more become your white horse. All those 
with tassels are made with a little silk mixed with 
silver and gold twist ; it looks pretty for a day, but 
the heat of the horse spoils it directly, and it cannot be 
cleaned. This bridle must be cleaned with lemon-juice." 

Towards the end of September, the expected cousin, 
Mr. Williams Wynn, arrived at Constantinople, and 
paid her a visit, of which he wrote the following 
account to his mother (October 4th, 1811): 

Mr. Williams Wynn to his Mother 

" You will, of course, expect a description of our 
dear cousin, who is living with Bruce and a Doctor 
at a small village on the Bosphorus, about six English 
miles from this place. From the present state of 


Europe, an Englishman cannot find any society what- 
ever here; her conversation is therefore of value, 
though I own I have been very much disappointed 
in her cleverness, for I cannot give that denomination 
to abuse of everything and everybody. The day I 
first saw her, I had not been in the room ten minutes 
before she opened her batteries, abusing or laughing 
at every individual of the family, excepting Ebrington, 
Watkin, and Cholmondeley. The first she praised up 
to the skies, but the last two were only well enough 
in their way. I gave her as good as she brought, 
and we were therefore excellent friends. She even 
does me the honour to say that my foreign education 
has a little counteracted the Grenville blood. I must, 
however, say that at the time when she is abusing 
everything which is most dear to me, she does it in 
a manner that it is impossible to be angry with her, 
and I believe that it proceeds more from a love of 
ridiculing than from the heart. Her great hero is the 
Duke of York, who, I believe, according to her, is to 
be the saviour of Europe; on the other hand, the 
people she most abuses are Lord Chatham and Lord 
Carrington. I am surprised at her being so inveterate 
against the latter, as she says even the Grenvilles are 
far preferable to that contemptible set who call them- 
selves Mr. Pitt's friends. She is now on the point of 
leaving this place for Athens, where she expects a 
passport to go to Italy and France. If she does not get 
it, which is most likely, she intends to go to Syria and 
Egypt. I will now have done with my cousin, though 
I could fill several sheets with her eccentricities." 

The passport was, as I have already said, refused. 
Italy being thus out of the question, she decided to 
go to Egypt, and a Greek vessel was chartered to 
take the party to Alexandria. She was duly cleansed, 



provisioned, and fitted with cabins for their reception, 
and they sailed from Constantinople on October 23rd. 
But the stormy petrel always seemed to attend poor 
Lady Hester's voyages. They were wind-bound, first 
at one island, and then at another, and on Novem- 
ber 23rd, exactly a month after their departure, had 
got no further than Rhodes. At last a favourable 
wind sprung up, and they bowled merrily along for 
two days ; but on the third they were met by a furious 
southerly gale, and compelled to change their course ; 
and on the fourth the ship sprung a leak, and there 
came the ominous cry, " All hands to the pumps ! " 
They were out of order and proved of little use ; the 
water gained upon them in spite of their efforts; it 
blew harder and harder, and all was confusion on 
deck. Lady Hester, who was below, was aroused by 
the noise, and surmising their danger, dressed herself, 
bade her maid put together a few necessaries, and set 
to work to cheer and encourage the crew. She re- 
membered there was a cask of wine on board, went 
down to draw some, and distributed it among them. 
Three or four of the men refused to work any more, 
and throwing themselves flat on their faces, wept and 
wailed to the Virgin Mary, crying, " Panagia mon ! 
Panagia mon ! " They were steering for Rhodes, and 
a little comforted by coming in sight of the island ; 
but the ship had by this time heeled gunwale down, 
and was so water-logged that she did not answer the 
helm. It became evident that she was sinking, and 
they took to the long boat, and made for a rock they 
saw a little way ahead. It was a desperate venture 
in such a sea; every moment the waves broke over 
them and threatened to swamp the boat ; but at last, 
drenched to the skin, they succeeded in reaching the 
rock, and found a cave where Lady Hester and her 
maid could be placed for shelter. It was the only 
available refuge from the whirling showers of spray, 
and having saved nothing, they had neither food nor 
water ; but they were too much worn out to think of 
anything but rest, and throwing themselves down on 
the wet rock, slept soundly amid " the visitation of the 
winds" and the deafening roar of the sea. At mid- 
night the weather moderated a little, and the captain 
proposed to take the boat across to Rhodes and buy 
provisions. The island was some miles off, and he 

1810-1812] RHODES 115 

would only consent to risk the attempt if the passen- 
gers were left behind, as there could be no possible 
chance for a heavily laden boat. They had no choice 
but to agree, and he promised to light a fire on the 
beach if he had the good fortune to get safe to land. 
It may be imagined with what feelings they watched 
for the signal, and welcomed it when it appeared. 
But a long period of suspense was still before them. 
For thirty weary hours of hunger and thirst they 
awaited the captain's return, with an ever-increasing 
doubt whether he would return at all. At last the 
boat appeared with the provisions, but without the 
captain, who had refused to come, and they were, 
though with great difficulty, conveyed across to the 
island. They did not land a moment too soon, for, 
just as they reached the shore, a heavy sea struck the 
boat, and she was presently swamped and staved. 
The rain was falling in torrents, and Lady Hester and 
her maid were put under cover in an old mill, but 
poor Mrs. Fry soon came running out again and 
declared she could not remain with her Ladyship 
where there were so many rats. They found they 
were still three days' journey and that over the 
roughest and wildest of paths from the town of 
Rhodes, and poor Lady Hester, having travelled 
"over dreadful rocks and mountains, partly on foot 
and partly on a mule, for eight hours," was laid up 
by fever on the way. But her illness did not last 
long, for she was able to write from Rhodes on 
December igth : " My health has suffered less than I 
expected. ... I have crossed the island on an ass, 
going for six hours a day, which proves I am pretty 
well now, at least." 

She wrote to report herself both to her brother and 
her London bank, and the following account of her 
shipwreck was received by her solicitor, Mr. Murray : 

Lady Hester to Mr. Murray 


"January -2nd, 1812. 

" DEAR SIR, Before this letter reaches you, you will 
have heard, in all probability, an account of my ship- 
wreck from Mr. Coutts. That I am here to relate it 


is rather extraordinary, for I escaped not only a 
sinking ship, but put to sea in a boat when one 
could hardly have supposed it could have lived five 
minutes the storm was so great. Unable to make 
the land, I got ashore, not on an island, but a bare 
rock which stuck up in the sea, and remained thirty 
hours without food or water. It becoming calmer the 
second night, I once more put to sea, and fortunately 
landed upon the island of Rhodes, but above three 
days' journey from the town, travelling at the rate of 
eight hours a day over mountains and dreadful rocks. 
Could the fashionables I once associated with believe 
that I could have sufficient composure of mind to 
have given my orders as distinctly and as positively 
as if I had been sitting in the midst of them, and that 
I slept for many hours very sound on the bare rock, 
covered with a pelisse, and was in a sweet sleep the 
second night, when I was awoke by the men, who 
seemed to dread that, as it was becoming calmer, and 
the wind changing (which would bring the sea in 
another direction), that we might be washed off the 
rock before morning. So away I went, putting my 
faith in that God who has never quite forsaken me in 
all my various misfortunes. The next place I slept 
in was a mill, upon sacks of corn; after that, in a 
hut, where I turned out a poor ass to make more 
room, and congratulated myself on having a bed of 
straw. When I arrived (after a day of tremendous 
fatigue) at a tolerable village, I found myself too ill 
to proceed the next day, and was fortunate enough to 
make the acquaintance of a kind-hearted, hospitable 
Greek gentleman, whom misfortune had sent into 
obscurity, and he insisted upon keeping me in his 
house till I was recovered. At the end of a few days 
I continued my journey, and arrived here, having 

1810-1812] RHODES 117 

suffered less than any other woman would have done 
whose health was as precarious as mine has been for 
so long a time. Everything I possessed I have lost ; 
had I attempted to have saved anything, others would 
have done the same, and the boat would have been sunk. 
To collect clothes in this part of the world to dress as 
an Englishwoman would be next to impossible; at least, 
it would cost me two years' income. To dress as a 
Turkish woman would not do, because I must not be 
seen to speak to a man ; therefore I have nothing left 
for it but to dress as a Turk not like the Turks you 
are in the habit of seeing in England, but as an Asiatic 
Turk in a travelling dress just a sort of silk and 
cotton shirt ; next a striped silk and cotton waistcoat ; 
over that another with sleeves, and over that a cloth 
short jacket without sleeves or half-sleeves, beauti- 
fully worked in coloured twist, a large pair of 
breeches, and Turkish boots, a sash into which goes 
a brace of pistols, a knife, and a sort of short sword, 
a belt for powder and shot made of variegated leather, 
which goes over the shoulder, the pouches the same, 
and a turban of several colours, put on in a particular 
way with a large bunch of natural flowers on one 
side. This is the dress of the common Asiatic; the 
great men are covered with gold and embroidery, and 
nothing can be more splendid and becoming than their 
dress. At this moment I am a wretched figure half 
a Greek, half a Turk, but most of all like a blackguard 
(Gallongi), a Turkish sailor. As there is nothing 
interesting in the town of Rhodes, and the Bey being 
the only disagreeable Turk I ever met with, once a 
slave, and now a tyrant, but not of my sort ignorant, 
sordid, and vulgar I have left him and his city for a 
little habitation on the sea coast, about three miles 
distant from the town. The situation of this summer 


residence is enchanting, even at this season of the 
year. Let those who envied me in my greatness 
alike envy me in rags; let them envy that con- 
tented and contemplative mind which rises superior 
to all worldly misfortunes which are independent of 
the affections of the heart. Tell them I can feel 
happier in wandering over wilds, observing and ad- 
miring the beauties of Nature, than ever I did when 
surrounded by pomp, flatterers, and fools. . . . All 
my curiosities, all my discoveries, are gone to the 
bottom, and many valuable ones I have made with 
so much trouble. If I want a Turk, it is the Ramazan, 
it is the feast of the Bairam ; he is either at prayers, 
asleep, or in the bath. If I want a Greek, his shop is 
shut it is a saint's day. If I want an Armenian, it 
is the same thing. The Jews are less provoking ; but, 
between them all and their different languages, it 
requires not a little patience and exertion .to get 
through with anything out of the common way. I 
have never yet received one letter from you. ... I 
cannot hardly suppose that you have never written to 
me, but I think you cannot have forwarded my letters 
through the channel I have so repeatedly directed. 
To be ignorant about poor dear Grandmama, and not 
to know what is become of poor Nash, 1 and if I have 
the means to assist her, is really very painful to me. 
William Hillier and Mr. Norman have alike disobeyed 
my orders. I desired they would be sure to write to 
me about Nash, and never have I had one line from 
any one of them. This is gratitude ; but such has 
been my fate to be forgotten the moment I am no 
longer useful. I am never low, but when I think of 

1 The old nurse at Chevening. My father always spoke of her 
with much affection, and paid her pension till, as he computed, she 
must have been more than 100 years old. He then made enquiries, 
and found she had been long dead and fraudulently represented. 

1810-1812] SCIO 119 

England and the monsters it contains when I put 
them out of my mind I am happy, for I have great 
reason to be so ; but who do I owe my comforts to ? 
to strangers ! " 

To Gen. Oakes she writes in a livelier strain : 

" Bruce, Mr. Pearce, and the Doctor are quite well. 
They have saved nothing; but do not think us dull, 
for we (myself included) danced the Pyrrhic dance 
with the peasants in the villages on our way here. 

" We have lost a poor dog who was quite a treasure ; 
it was so frightened and so sick, we could not get it 
into the boat. I lament this every day, and little else, 
except the most beautiful collection of conserves for 
you and two other people violets, roses, orange- 
flowers, and every kind of fruit. 

" Wynn is here, and is very kind to me. . . . Tell 
Mr. Taylor I make conquests of Turks everywhere. 
Here they are ten times more strict than in Con- 
stantinople ; yet a Turk has lent me a house and 
a bath in the middle of an orange garden where 
I go to-morrow. The houses on the outside of the 
walls, where the Franks live, are only fit for poultry. 

" When I went on shore at Scio, 1 I slept two nights 
at a Turkish house, and they would not admit even 
a dragoman ; but I contrived to make myself under- 
stood, got an excellent breakfast, and set it all out 
in my own way, which amused them of all things, 
and one of their friends lent me a horse and a black 

1 " Lady Hester is now wind-bound at Scio on her way to Alex- 
andria, from whence she is to go to Jerusalem to fulfill a prophecy 
of Brothers', that she is to be the means of establishing God's elect 
there. She says she will not go there till she knows I have left it, 
for fear that any branch of the Grenvilles should come under that 
denomination. I can assure you that she talks of her Jerusalem 
Government half in joke and half in earnest. She is the oddest 
mixture I ever saw of cleverness and folly." Mr. Wynn to his. 
mother, November i4th, i8ij. 


slave to attend me. I do not know how it is, but 
I always feel at home with these people, and can 
get out of them just what I like ; but it is a very 
different thing with the Greeks, who shuffle and 
shuffle, and you never can depend upon them for one 

The Oriental dress that Lady Hester had now 
adopted, and taken such pains to describe to her 
lawyer, she never again discarded. " I assure you," 
she says in one of her letters, " that if I ever looked 
well in anything, it is in the Asiatic dress, quite 
different from the European Turk's." To Western 
eyes there was nothing peculiarly masculine about 
it, 1 for the long and voluminous trousers simulated 
a petticoat about as well as " the divided skirt " 
advocated by our dress reformers. The wearing of 
weapons was not a matter of choice ; it was im- 
perative for all travellers in those countries, and I 
can find no mention of her ever having used them. 

Other requisites besides clothes, such as medicines, 
camp-equipages, stores, &c., which were not obtain- 
able at Rhodes, had still to be replaced, and the Doctor 
was despatched to Smyrna to procure them. He was 
several weeks away, and on his return found Lady 
Hester at the point of departure. Captain Henry 
Hope, of the Salsette frigate, hearing of her ship- 
wrecked condition, had come to offer to take her 
and her party to Alexandria, and she welcomed him 
as a deliverer. " Chivalry Hope he is to be called," 
she declared, " for the old knights of Malta and 
Rhodes could not have deserved more praise. . . . 
What we should have done without him I know 
not." They joyfully embarked in the Salsette; but, 
with her usual ill-luck at sea, no sooner had she set 
foot on board than a storm arose, which detained 
them for some days at Marmora, and they did not 
arrive at Alexandria till the first days of February. 

Colonel Misset, the English resident, gave them a 

1 It is curious to find in the Doctor's journal, that when she was 
seen riding in an English riding habit at Brusa, " it was whispered 
about that she was a boy," as her dress resembled that of the pages 
of the Seraglio. 

i8io-i8i2] CAIRO 121 

hospitable welcome, and found a house in the Frank 
quarter for Lady Hester. But her first impressions 
of the country were far from encouraging. "This 
place I think quite hideous," she tells General Oakes, 
" and if all Egypt is like it, I shall wish to quit it as 
soon as possible." They only remained long enough 
to make some necessary purchases, and prepare 
for the journey to Cairo. How times are changed ! 
Now it is a few hours distant by rail ; then, it was 
a toilsome progress by land and water that might 
have dated from the time of the Pharaohs. Captain 
Hope accompanied them as far as Rosetta. They 
travelled first on donkeys, then in flat-bottomed boats 
across Lake Madiah, and by one of the Canopic 
branches of the Nile to Aboukir Bay; thence, coasting 
along for a mile or two, they reached the entrance of 
Lake Edko, which they traversed, and finally landing 
at the village of Edko, again mounted donkeys and 
rode to Rosetta. Here they hired two dahabeahs, 
with a couple of cabins eight feet square a-piece, 
to take them up the Nile, one for Lady Hester and 
the faithful Fry, the other for the three gentlemen, 
and sailing night and day, reached Cairo on the 
fifth night. 

Lady Hester's arrival caused a great sensation, for 
the sight of an English lady of rank was then an 
almost unprecedented event, and she was received 
with much honour by the Pacha. Five of his finest 
horses, splendidly caparisoned, were sent to convey 
her and her party to the Ezbekieh Palace; she was 
preceded by a bevy of officials bearing silver sticks 
each additional silver stick marking a grade in the 
social scale and allowed to dismount at the inner 
gate. She herself had prepared with due magnificence 
for the occasion, and appeared in a Tunisian costume 
of purple velvet embroidered with gold, wearing two 
Kashmir shawls for which she had paid 100, one 
as a turban, the other as a girdle. The Pacha, who 
had never seen an English lady before, received her 
in a gaily decorated kiosk in the garden of his harem, 
on a gorgeously embroidered divan of scarlet velvet, 
and offered her, according to Oriental custom, sherbet, 
coffee, and a narghileh. But the narghileh she refused, 
not having yet learned to smoke. Unfortunately, none 
of her letters from Cairo have been preserved, and no 


record remains of their conversation. Before her de- 
parture, the Pacha further honoured her by reviewing 
his troops before her, and made her a present of a fine 
Arab charger, which, with its superb caparisons, she 
sent to the Duke of York. Another horse, given to 
her by Abdul Bey, one of the courtiers, she forwarded 
to Lord Ebrington by the same opportunity. 

Mr. Henry Wynn, 1 having crossed the desert from 
Gaza, here rejoined the party, with his servant George, 
whose presence of mind on one occasion saved Lady 
Hester's life. They were returning from an expedition 
to the Pyramids then a formidable and even hazard- 
ous undertaking, requiring not only horses, camels, 
tents, provisions, &c., but a guard of soldiers and 
Lady Hester had engaged the French Mamelukes, 
with their captain, as her escort. As they were being 
ferried across the Nile, a plank sprung in the bottom 
of the boat in which she was sitting, and the water 
rushed in. They were in the middle of the river, 
where the current is strongest, and the boatman, in 
his consternation, lost his head and dropped his 
oars. George, quick as lightning, tore off his turban, 
plugged the leak, and doubling his fist in the man's 
face, threatened to kill him if he did not row them 
ashore. He obeyed, and they landed in safety. 

Early in May they left Cairo for Rosetta, where, 
with some natural doubts and misgivings, they 
selected a polacca to take them to Jaffa. On this 
occasion, however, the voyage, unlike her former 
experiences at sea, was prosperous as well as brief. 
At Jaffa, Mr. Pearce left them to take another route, 
and Lady Hester commenced her long travels on 
horseback through Syria and the Holy Land. She 
rode in true Oriental style, with two Sai'ses walking 
at her horse's head. Her saddle and bridle, both 
Egyptian, were of crimson velvet embroidered in 
gold, and her travelling costume, likewise brought 
from Cairo, consisted of a satin vest with long 

1 He writes to his mother (April, 1812): "Notwithstanding I 
partly agree with you in what you say of our cousin, I was very glad 
to find her here ; I had constant society in her house, and to me 
she made herself very agreeable. She has many faults, but has, I 
believe, an excellent heart. . . . We went a very large party to the 
Pyramids. . . . Lady Hester attempted to go in, but the undertaking 
was too great even for her, who is superior in exertion to any woman 
I ever saw," 

1810-1812] ISHMAEL BEY 123 

sleeves, open from the elbow, and a red cloth jacket 
and trousers, both again heavy with gold embroidery ; 
the latter full enough "to form, by their numerous 
folds, a very beautiful drapery." Over this, when 
riding, she wore a white abba, or burnous, 1 and her 
turban was a Kashmir shawl. 

No letters of hers are forthcoming till the following 
September ; but I found among her papers part of a 
MS. journal kept by Mr. Bruce. It hardly ever 
mentions her, and deals chiefly with historical, 
geographical, and statistical details, describing what 
is now the beaten track of tourists to Jerusalem, 
Bethlehem, Mount Carmel, Hai'fa, and Acre. But 
now and again, what my Scotch nurse used to call 
"th* auld Adam," peeps out, as when he speaks of 
" the infamous conduct " of the Aga of Jaffa, " whose 
insolence is only to be equalled by his ignorance, and 
his ignorance by his presumption." What he really 
did we are not told ; but whatever it was it drew 
down upon him the full measure of Lady Hester's 
wrath, and they were not a little uneasy when, at 
their next station, Ramleh, they found that he had 
followed them there, and sent for the Aga of the 
place, who had shown himself very friendly. Surely 
ne must have come to complain of them ? to exact 
satisfaction for the " indignation " so forcibly ex- 
pressed ? But it turned out that he had come on 
quite a different errand, and only intreated his colleague 
at Ramleh " to use every means in his power to pacify 
the English lady." 

At Jerusalem they came across a man whose story 
has of late years been discredited, and his very 
existence questioned the one Mameluke who escaped 
from the massacre of his comrades at Cairo. His 
name was Ishmael Bey, and he spoke a little English, 
having spent two months in England with his brother 
Elfi. He told Mr. Bruce that " his escape from Cairo 
was quite miraculous. When the Mamelukes were 
enclosed within the gates of the Citadel, and the 
Albanians had begun to fire upon them, he leaped 
over a very high wall and galloped to his house. He 
then changed his clothes, provided himself with 
money, hired some dromedaries, and went into the 

1 One of these, said to have been worn by her, is in my pos- 


desert. At night, when he was asleep, the perfidious 
Arabs (who were his guides), taking advantage of his 
defenceless situation, attacked him with sabres and 
with bludgeons, wounded him in the head, the neck, 
and the sides, and left him for dead. In this state he 
was found by a humane Arab, who discovered in him 
some signs of life. He took him to his house and 
provided him with what his scanty store could furnish. 
He remained with him near six weeks, until his 
wounds were healed. In the interval (through the 
means of the Arab) he contrived to have some com- 
munication with Cairo. He procured some clothes 
and a little money, and then went into Syria. He 
there claimed the protection of Suleiman Pacha of 
Acre, who has given him a place of refuge, and allows 
him a miserable pittance. His situation is very 
critical, as the Turks do not respect the laws of 
hospitality. As long as Suleiman Pacha and 
Mohammed AH are enemies he is secure ; but the 
moment this enmity ceases he will be made the 
sacrifice. He wished to go to London or Constanti- 
nople, and place himself under British protection." 
Lady Hester was warmly interested in him. She 
assisted him with money, and corresponded with Mr. 
Canning on his behalf. 1 

Again, at Nazareth, Mr. Bruce was thunderstruck 
at hearing himself addressed, in good English, by a 
bare-legged Syrian peasant with a long beard, who 
proved to be the celebrated traveller Burckhardt. He 
passed as Shaykh Ibrahim, and was dressed in the 
coarse cotton shirt and woollen abba of the country ; 
but he could not disguise " his broad German face and 
blue eyes." Lady Hester, to whom he was introduced, 
did not like him. 

She had an accident as she was leaving Nazareth. 
Her horse slipped up and fell with her, injuring one 
of her legs so severely that she had to be carried back 
to her lodging at the Franciscan convent, and was 
detained there a week. 

From Acre she proceeded to Sayda ; and here, 
immediately on her arrival, she received an invitation 
from the Prince of the Mountain to visit him at 
Dayr-el-Kamar, in the Lebanon. She accepted with 
eagerness, for she had long wished and purposed to 
1 See page 132. 

1810-1812] THE DRUSES 125 

see something of the Druse country, and make the 
acquaintance of its singular and mysterious people. 
As soon as the Emir knew of her coming, he sent 
down no less than twelve camels, twenty-five mules, 
and four horses, for her use, with an armed escort for 
her protection. Two days before she left Sayda, on 
July 2pth, she was delighted to see the Salsette frigate 
enter the harbour. " Captain Hope came to the coast 
to look after me," she writes to the General, "and 
gave me your kind message. He is a very worthy 
young man, and has been more kind to me than I could 
nave thought it possible for a man, who was a stranger 
to me at Rhodes, could have been." 

The ride to Dayr-el-Kamar was over rugged paths, 
such as would, to English ideas, have made the Emir's 
palace inaccessible on horseback. On their way they 
passed Djoun, where little as she then could have 
imagined it possible she was to pass the last twenty 
years of her life. The Emir received her with great 
distinction, and she remained with him a month, 
visiting his palace at Btedyn, and that of the Shaykh 
Beshyr at Makhtara, three or four hours distant from 
Dayr-el-Kamar. These palaces were in no way 
remarkable, but the latter was famous for its fountains, 
and a stream of clear, cool water had been made to 
flow through all its rooms. She was much pleased 
with her stay. 

" I must now," she says in one of her letters, 
11 speak to you of the Druses, that extraordinary and 
mysterious people that inhabit the Mount Lebanon. 
I hope, if ever I see you again, to be able to reach 
Mr. North" (Lord Guilford) "in my account of 
them. I will only now mention one fact, which I can 
state as positive, having been an eye-witness to it, 
it is that they eat raw meat. I purchased of a Druse 
an immense sheep, the tail weighing eleven pounds, 
and desired it to be taken to a village, where I ordered 
the people to assemble and eat. When I arrived the 
sheep was alive ; the moment it was killed, it was 
skinned and brought in raw upon a sort of dish made 


of matting, and in less than half an hour it was all 
devoured. The women eat of it as well as the men. 
The pieces of raw fat they swallowed were really 

" I understand feeling my ground so well with 
savage people, that I can ask questions no other 
person dares to put to them ; but it would not be proper 
to repeat here those I asked even the sages, and still 
less their answers. Any one who asks a religious 
question may be murdered without either the Emir 
Beshyr (the Prince of the Mountain) or the Shaykh 
Beshyr (the Governor) being able to punish the 

" Nothing ever equalled the honours paid to me by 
these men. The Prince is a mild, amiable man ; but 
the Governor has proved a Lucifer, and I am the first 
traveller he ever allowed to walk over his palace, 
which has been the scene of several massacres. The 
two days I spent with him I enjoyed very much, and 
you will be surprised at it when I tell you that he 
judged it necessary to make one of his chief officers 
taste out of my cup before I drank, for fear of poison ; 
but I am used to that ; yet this man upon his knees 
before me looked more solemn than usual." 

From Dayr-el-Kamar she had written to announce 
her coming to the Pacha of Damascus, Sayd Suleiman, 
who had been Sword-bearer to the Sultan Selim, and 
he had sent one of his pages with a courteous invita- 
tion in reply. She was, however, informed that she 
must wear a veil, as Damascus was one of the most 
fanatical towns in Turkey; the scandal of seeing a 
woman in men's clothes, and unveiled, would be very 
great, and she would certainly be insulted. But any 
suggestion as to what she should, or should not, do, 
invariably roused Lady Hester's opposition. She 
declared she would enter Damascus in broad day- 
light, dressed as she was, and unveiled and she did. 

i8io-i8ia] DAMASCUS 127 

" I must first mention," she writes to Lord Sligo, 
"my entry at Damascus, which was one of the most 
singular and not one of my least exploits, as it was 
reckoned so dangerous, from the fanaticism of the 
Turks in that town. However, we made a triumphal 
entry, and were lodged in what was reckoned a very 
fine house of the Christian quarter, which I did not 
at all approve of. I said to the Doctor, ' I must take 
the bull by the horns and stick myself under the 
minaret of the Great Mosque.' This was accomplished, 
and we found ourselves, for three months, in the most 
distinguished part of the Turkish quarter. I went 
out in a variety of dresses every day, to the great 
astonishment of the Turks ; but no harm happened. 
A visit to the Pacha on the night of the Ramazan was 
magnificent indeed. Two thousand attendants and 
guards lined the staircase, ante-chamber, &c. The 
streets were all illuminated, and there were festivities 
at all the coffee houses. The message of invitation 
was accompanied by two fine Arab horses, one of 
which I mounted ; but I am sorry to say they are both 
dead of the glanders." 

Again, in another letter : 

" All I can say about myself sounds like conceit, 
but others could tell you I am the oracle of the place, 
and the darling of all the troops, who seem to think 
I am a deity because I can ride, and because I wear 
arms ; and the fanatics all bow before me, because the 
Dervishes think me a wonder, and have given me a 
piece of Mahomet's tomb ; and I have won the heart 
of the Pacha by a letter I wrote him from Dayr-el- 
Kamar. Hope will tell you how I got on upon the 
coast, and if he could make anything of the Pacha of 


Acre, his Ministers, or the rest of them, who were all 
at my feet. I was even admitted into the library of 
the famous Mosque, and fumbled over the books at 
pleasure, books that no Christian dare touch or even 
cast their eyes upon." 

Far from being attacked or insulted, she was treated 
with extraordinary deference. Crowds waited at her 
door to see her get upon her horse. Coffee was 
poured out on the road before her as she passed. 
She was saluted as Meleki (the Queen), and all rose 
to their feet as she entered the bazar an honour 
generally accorded only to the Pacha or Mufti. Yet 
at this very time, no native Christian could venture 
to leave the quarter assigned to him on horseback, 
or even show himself on foot in a conspicuous gar- 
ment or turban, without running a good chance of 
having his bones broken by some zealous fanatic or 

Lady Hester's next object was to see Palmyra. 
She had set her heart upon this expedition, all the 
more as it was generally pronounced to be impractic- 
able. Three Englishmen only had ever been known 
to reach the place, and of these one returned stripped 
to his shirt, though they travelled in the humble guise 
of pedlars. It was out of the jurisdiction of the Pacha, 
in the hands of the plundering Bedouins, and twenty 
leagues of waterless desert had to be crossed to get 

But difficulties and dangers were only incentives 
to Lady Hester, and sounded in her ears as the 
trumpet notes of a challenge. On September 3Oth 
she writes to General Oakes that she is going : 

" Mr. North offered money, and used all the interest 
he had to accomplish getting there, but in vain ; but 
/ have succeeded. I cannot set off under a week; 
but my camels from the desert have arrived, and I 
hope all will do well. Everybody is surprised at my 
courage, as above eighty thousand Arabs will be on 
their march in a fortnight to winter quarters, and I 

i8io-i8i2] DAMASCUS 129 

have determined to go straight into one of the largest 
Bedouin camps. . . . From Palmyra I go to Aleppo, 
and . from Aleppo to Antioch, where I pass the 

But she reckoned without her host, for serious 
disturbances broke out in the interval. 

Lady Hester to General Oakes 

" October \ith, 1812. 

" I am here still, not liking to stir till I see a little 
what turn things take. . . . Every day a battle is 
expected. A report also has been in circulation that 
fifty thousand Wahabees are within four days' journey 
of this city ; but I do not believe it. It takes rise from 
a letter from Mecca to the Pacha, saying several 
thousand dromedaries mounted by Wahabees have 
set off, they know not where, but not improbably for 
this place, which they once before attempted to take, 
but were driven back, after having burnt and ran- 
sacked every village upon the road. Why this con- 
cerns me is for this reason : the strongest tribe of 
Bedouin Arabs my friends who do not like the 
present Pacha, will probably join any party against 
him, and there will be a fine confusion in the desert, 
as well as here, and the roads in every direction will 
be filled with Delebaches, &c. These men are more 
dreaded in every part of Turkey than you can 
imagine, as they stick at nothing. But, luckily for 
me, I am well known to some thousands, who have 
been in the habit of seeing me with their chief visiting 
their horses ; he has visited me accompanied by some 
of them, and they have everywhere treated me with 
the greatest civility, even when their chief has not 
been with them, so I have less to fear than any one 
else. But yet, when such disturbances take place, 



few are safe. But should the worst come to the 
worst, I shall take fifty of them and set off to my 
friend Emir Beshyr, the Prince of the Mountain, 
where I shall be quite safe. He has one hundred 
thousand troops at his disposal, which he can assemble 
in three days, and nothing was ever so kind as he has 
been to me ; therefore, hear what you may, believe me 
to be better off than any one else. The Bey who 
commands the Delebaches took a great fancy to me 
when at Cairo, and everything he can command is at 
my disposal, I know; he is a simple, honest soldier, 
and has no intrigue about him at all, and is extremely 
beloved by the troops. It is a good thing that old 
North is safe off, for he would be in a sad fright. I 
am not at all, knowing my own presence of mind 
under all circumstances, and that I have excellent 
friends in this country. Be perfectly easy about me ; 
my good luck will not forsake me when any confusion 
takes place." 

She adds in a P.S. : 

" Pray do not put any women or fools into a fright 
upon the state of things in this country ; besides, to 
tell the truth is here often the greatest danger one 
can run." 

Lady Hester to Mr. S. Canning 

" I heard from Captain Hope, whom I saw a few 
months ago on the coast, that a letter which I had 
sent him by a janissary from Damietta, he had never 
received, and in this letter was enclosed one for you, 
expressing my thanks for the kind attention you had 
shown me after the shipwreck. You, I am afraid, 
would be shocked were I to give you a description 
of myself; but it is a happy thing for me that I can 

1810-1812] DAMASCUS 131 

make necessity a pleasure. In Egypt, the Pacha re- 
viewed 5,000 cavalry expressly to please me, and his 
women who saw me (through their little peep holes) 
ride into the court of the harem upon one of the 
Pacha's scampering horses, were in ecstasy, and sent 
down a tribe of black gentlemen to welcome, as they 
thought, Toucane Pacha, Mahomet Ali's son, who is, 
in fact, at Mecca. I liked Egypt extremely, notwith- 
standing the narrow streets, the stinks, and bad eyes ; 
but had I been dressed as a woman I should not have 
liked it at all, for I should not have seen anything. 
In all Syria I have been received with great hospitality 
by Turks, Jews, and Arabs. This place is beautiful, 
but yet not to be compared with Brusa, and the people 
by far the least well-looking of any I have seen in the 
Sultan's dominions. In a few days I set off for 
Palmyra, dressed as the son of an Arab chief, with 
my abba, leather belt, and horse-hair cord round my 
head, mounted on an Arab horse the Pacha has given 
me. I refused his Delebaches, they might get me 
into a scrape, as I am going to visit a tribe of about 
40,000 Arabs, and to meet 100,000 upon their march 
to winter quarters. With these people I am quite at 
my ease ; I have some very good friends amongst 
them, and I have no doubt I shall do very well. The 
son of a chief offered me the other day his own fine 
horse ; but how could I accept all that a man had of 
valuable in the world ? I thanked him, and said I 
would give his tent the preference to any other, as 
I felt great confidence in him ; with this he seemed 
much pleased, for they have been all disputing who 
shall escort me, and since the great battle in which 
100,000 horse took the field it is very dangerous to 
make yourself over to either party, because you might 
run the risk of being cut to pieces by the hostile 

132 ISHMAEL BEY [CH. in 

tribe; but I go with a chief who plays into the hands 
of both, and I shall be friends with all, till I see which 
I like best, then I shall declare myself for that tribe. 
I am quite delighted with these people, and I seem to 
take their fancy. 

" I remember you once told me that you never took 
presents from ladies, but I am not a lady, but a poor 
Bedouin, therefore you will not refuse this little tribute 
of my respect which I offer you. My slight acquaint- 
ance with Mr. Knight prevents my writing to him, 
but from all you have told me of his generosity and 
humanity, I think I may venture to request you will 
give him this message, that I have discovered in 
retirement the only poor Bey (the brother of Elfi 
Bey) who escaped being massacred at Cairo by leaping 
over the wall into the ditch of the Citadel. He has 
not a sixpence nor a friend upon earth, and is in 
hourly dread of losing his head, which Mahomet AH 
(missing it amongst those of the other Beys which 
were brought to him) offered a great price for, and 
no one has courage to protect this poor man. If 
Mr. Knight would humanely collect a little money 
for him he would be doing one of the kindest acts he 
ever did in his life ; but it must be remitted to him 
very secretly, unless he could be ensured an asylum 
and a subsistence in England, otherwise it might risk 
his life. If a sum was sent to General Oakes at Malta, 
and he would inform me of it, I would, according to 
circumstances, recommend to him means of conveying 
it safe. The minds of men are now become so 
hardened, so interested, so cowardly, that, generally 
speaking, it would be deemed right to leave this poor 
wretch to his fate, for fear of displeasing the all- 
powerful Mahomet Ali. Mahomet AH was civiler to 
me than he ever was to anybody in his life, he always 

1810-1812] DAMASCUS 133 

received me standing. I rode with him, paid him 
visits when I chose, where I chose, and at my own 
hour ; I talked to him for hours together, and every- 
thing I asked was done. But did this make me mean ? 
No ! I visited the widow of Mourad Bey ; I was on 
terms of great intimacy with all the wives and widows 
of the Mamelukes who were murdered or who fled ; 
and I gave him myself an account of my visits. 
Mourad Bey's widow is the most charming woman 
(though not young) I ever knew, the picture of a 
captive queen, with extraordinary talents, the tenderest 
heart, and the most affectionate manner. I should 
like to return to Cairo, if it was only to see this 
woman, for whom I have a real friendship and admira- 
tion. I know you have much zeal in a bad cause, if 
you have the same in a good one, the poor Mameluke 
ought to pray for you and your friend. 

" What did I tell you once, that we ruined every 
country we interfered with. Look at Russia, what 
have we not brought upon her! I have laughed at 
you and scolded you, but I must ever wish you well, 
because I believe you to be an honest man, a rare thing 
in these times. 

"Yours sincerely, 

" H. L. S. 

" I hoped I had forgotten your cousin, but my 
blood boiled the other day when I read in an old 
newspaper his friendship for Hawkesbury, a reptile 
he used to despise. Believe me, I should be sorry 
to hurt your feelings, but do not be led to ruin as 
he (Mr. C.) has been." 




THE threatened invasion Lady Hester had mentioned 
to General Oakes proved to be a false alarm. 

Lady Hester to General Oakes 

" The Wahabees (which were the subject of 
my last letter) have not been heard of near this 
town ; it is said that a small number of them have 
arrived at Palmyra, but that is of no consequence. 
Whether it was the report of their being upon the 
road to this place, or that the Pacha was unable to 
settle the dispute with his troops, which induced him 
to send a positive order to an old figure like Sir 
David " (Dundas) " to come here directly (the head of 
everything military in Syria), 1 know not; but this 
sensible, popular, and active old fellow suddenly 
appeared, and was shortly after commanded to take 
a strong body of troops, and go over all the Pachalic 
of Damascus instead of the Pacha. During the time 
he was here, he expressed a great wish to make my 
acquaintance, and that I should visit him. ' For,' said 
he, ' I shall be very jealous of my young chief if she 
does not.' Knowing the state of things, the rebellious 
spirit of the troops, their exultation at his arrival, &c., 
I 1 'considered this visit an awful thing, yet I was 


1812-1816] DAMASCUS 135 

determined to go, as everything military seemed to 
have set their heart upon it. 

" I first was obliged to ride through a yard full of 
horses, then to walk through several hundred, perhaps 
a thousand, Delebaches, and then to present myself 
to no less than fifty officers and grandees, the old 
chief in the corner, and my friend the young Bey 
(Youseff Pacha's son) next to him, who rose to give 
me his place. I remained there about an hour. The 
old fellow was so delighted with me, that he gave me 
his own house upon the borders of the desert for as 
long a time as I choose to inhabit it ; he offered me 
a hundred Delebaches to escort me all over Syria; 
he sent off an express to put, as he said, his most 
confidential officer under my command, that nothing 
I asked for was to be refused. In short, nothing 
could equal his civility ; besides, it was accompanied 
with a degree of heartiness, which you seldom meet 
with in a Turk. The next day he sent me a very fine 
little two-year-old Arab to train up in my own way. 

" The chief of forty thousand Arabs, Mohanna El- 
Fadel, arrived here about the same time, to get four 
thousand camels and several thousand sheep released, 
which the Pacha had seized. His sons have been 
my friends ever since I came here ; but as the father 
is reckoned as harsh as he is cunning, I little thought 
to manage him as I have done. He and his eldest 
son and about twenty-five Arabs dined with me, and 
were all enchanted; and the Meleki, or Queen, is in 
the mouth of every Arab, both in Damascus and the 
desert. As to the Wahabees, Mohanna assures me 
that, as one of his family, he shall guarantee me with 
his life, and whether I meet or do not meet with them 
it is the same thing. To see this extraordinary people 
is what I wish, but not in the town or environs of 


Damascus, to be confounded with the crowd of those 
they wish to injure. 

" Bruce and Mr. Barker " (the Consul-General) " are 
now upon their road from Aleppo, because they choose 
to take it into their heads I must go with a caravan 
to Palmyra. No caravan goes the road I intended to 
go ; and if it had, as I told them, nothing should 
persuade me to join one. This put them into a 
fright, so they are coming with a wire thing, a 
tartaravan, which Mr. Barker pronounces necessary, 
but which all the Consuls in the universe shall never 
persuade me to get into. What an absurd idea, in 
case of danger to be stuck upon a machine, the 
tartaravangers running away, and leaving you to the 
mercy of two obstinate mules ! The swiftest horse 
one can find is the best thing, and what the Arabs 
often owe their lives to. My second messenger, saying 
more positively than the first that, whether they come 
or not, I would have nothing to do with a tartaravan 
or caravan, had only left this place three days when 
the caravan between Horns and Damascus, composed 
of several hundred persons and fifty armed men, was 
attacked by Arabs, and sixteen men killed. Who is 
right, I or the Consul-General ? 

" The Pacha answers for my safety, so do the chiefs 
of the Delebaches, and so do the Arabs ; but they do 
not answer for rich, cowardly merchants, who are left 
to take care of themselves. By this time Barker must 
be half-way from Aleppo, therefore it is right I should 
think about setting off to meet them at Horns. Four 
armed men is all I shall take, just to keep a watch 
about the tents at night, and to have an eye upon 
the horses, that no stray robber may make off with 
them. As to great tribes, &c., I am perfectly secure 
with them, I know. 

1812-1816] DAMASCUS 137 

" During my residence here, I have made a great 
number of very pleasant acquaintances, and have seen 
all the most famous harems. I believe I am the only 
person who can give an account of the manner in 
which a great Turk is received by his wives and 
women. A particular friend of mine, who has four 
wives and three mistresses, took me to see them 
himself. None of his wives sat down in his presence, 
or even came up to the raised part of the room where 
we sat, except to serve his pipe and give him coffee. 
When he invited me to a dinner, apparently for fifteen 
or twenty people, I of course thought the poor 
women were to eat ; but not at all, they only presented 
him with what he wanted from the hands of the slaves, 
and never spoke but when he asked some question. 
Yet this is one of the most pleasant and good-natured 
men I know, and with me behaves just like anybody 
else, and is full as civil and attentive as another man ; 
but in this instance he does not consider his dignity 

" The other day I was paying a visit to the wife of 
a very great Effendi (who, though not the most 
agreeable, is perhaps the cleverest man I knew here), 
not less than fifty women were assembled in the 
harem to see me, when in came the lord and master 
all put on their veils except his wife and his own 
women, and he made a sign, and all retired. He then 
told me he had sent for my little dragoman, who 
shortly appeared. We talked some time and then he 
proposed dining. He had led me into a beautiful 
court paved with coloured marbles, with fountains 
playing among the orange-trees, and in a sort of alcove 
we found dinner prepared, or rather supper, for it was 
at sunset. Everything was served in high style by 
black female slaves, and a black gentleman. Immense 


gilt candlesticks, with candles nearly six feet high, 
were set on the ground, and great illumination of 
small elegant lamps suspended in clusters in different 
parts of the court. The proud man talked a great 
deal, and kept my little dragoman nearly four hours 
on his knees, having fetched a great book to talk 
astronomy, upon which he asked me ten thousand 
questions. In short, he kept me there till nearly 
ten o'clock, an hour past the time which, if any one 
is found in the streets, they are to have their heads 
cut off such is the Pacha's new decree. All the gates 
were shut, but all opened for me, and not a word said. 
The Pacha cuts off a head or two nearly every day ; 
but yet I do not think he has added much to his own 
security, for he is by no means liked, nor does he 
command half so much as my friend the old 

" What surprises me so much is the extreme civility of 
the Turks to a Christian, which they detest much more 
here than in any other part of the Sultan's dominions. 
A woman in man's clothes, a woman on horseback 
everything directly in opposition to their strongest 
prejudices, and yet never a smile of impertinence, let 
me go where I will. If it was as it is in England, 
it would be quite impossible to get through with it 
all. Like Dr. Pangloss, I always try to think that 
everything is for the best. If I had not been ship- 
wrecked I should have seen nothing here. If I had 
been born a man instead of a woman I could not have 
entered all the harems as I have done, and got ac- 
quainted with all the Turkish customs, and seen all 
that is to be seen of most magnificent for a Turk's 
splendour is in his harem. The rooms, the dresses, 
the whole air of luxury, is not to be described. 

" Adieu ! my [dear General. I have written you a 

i8i2-i8i6] DAMASCUS 139 

long letter, because I thought my last might have put 
you in a fright. Had the Wahabees come here it 
would have been no joke, at least for the inhabitants 
of this town, for they burn and destroy all before them. 
" When you have read this, will you enclose it to 
Lord Ebrington, who is so good as always to feel 
anxious about me, and I have no time to write to him 


Lady Hester to General Oakes 


"November I2//&, 1812. 

" Bruce and Mr. Barker arrived here about the ist ; 
the latter has been laid up with a fever ever since, 
and I have given up my journey to the desert for 
the present, as the Pacha insists upon sending eight 
hundred or one thousand men with me, and the 
expense would be ruin ; but I am going off to Horns 
to-morrow, and in the course of the winter shall 
contrive to go in some way or other. 

" It seems very cross to be angry at people being 
anxious about you, but had Bruce and Mr. Barker 
made less fuss about my safety, and let me have 
perfectly my own way, I should have been returned 
by this time from Palmyra. But this, and the state 
of the country, I do not wish to be the conver- 
sation of Malta, for it might be scribbled back again 
here by some of the merchants. Yet I cannot but 
regret that (for I had leave to dig and do everything 
I pleased at Palmyra) chance having put such extra- 
ordinary power in my hands, it has been lost by 
mismanagement. It is not here as in other parts of 
the world ; if you only go a mile to the right instead 
of to the left, which you have not previously bargained 
to do, your camels leave you, your guards won't stir 
out of their district, you must pay them four times 

i 4 o DAMASCUS [CH. iv 

their price to induce them to go on. Therefore it was 
very fine and very natural to write every three days 
from Aleppo, we will meet here, then there, and to 
make fifty changes, and to express fifty fears. For 
people who did not know the country it might be ex- 
pected, but those who did ought to have been aware it 
would have been taken advantage of, which has been 
the case. 

" We have no plague here at present, but I suppose 
it will come when goods arrive from Constantinople ; it 
is said it is already suspected in Egypt, and then 
it generally comes here. But there will be no 
possibility of leaving this country till the spring, as 
no English ships come to the coast in the winter, and 
we have had enough of Greek vessels. I, for one, 
have little apprehension of the plague; all in this 
world rests with Providence, and over-caution ever 
exposes persons more to danger than remaining 

" I have sought in vain for some good thing to send 
you from hence, but can find nothing; but I have 
ordered some wild boar hams to be made, which you 
will receive in the course of the winter. Bruce ordered 
some of the famous Vino d'Oro of Mount Lebanon ; 
when the casks are well seasoned, and an opportunity 
offers, it shall be sent to Malta. He hates this place, 
as I thought he would, but must remain here till 
Mr. Barker is well enough to set off. Aleppo he 
also thought abominable. I knew I should dislike 
Aleppo if I went there, because it is full of vulgar 
people ; but here there are chiefly great Turks, and, 
as I get on very well with them, I rather like the 
place than otherwise, but think it very unwholesome 
from the quantity of water and trees in and about the 
town, but very beautiful in its way, but it is not the 

1812-1816] HAMAR 141 

way I like. Brusa and the banks of the Bosphorus 
for me enchanting scenes that I think upon with 

On leaving Damascus, Lady Hester originally 
intended to go to Aleppo, and Mr. Bruce had been 
there as a pioneer to see whether the place was likely 
to suit her, and what accommodation it afforded. Her 
directions to him are characteristic : 

" Make Mr. Barker aware that I am an extra- 
ordinary person, and like nothing other people like. 
If I can only have a horse a good one a bath, and 
some good bread, it is all I wish, provided the climate 
is a good one, and that I am not teased, as I have 
been finely here." 

His report was unfavourable, and she next dates 
her letters from " Hamar, on the Orontes, where," 
writes Mr. Bruce, " we spent a most disagreeable 
winter, the coldest that had been known in Syria for 
thirty years." 

Lady Hester to General Oakes 

"January 25^, 1813. 

" I have been obliged to give up my long intended 
journey to Palmyra for the present, for it would not 
have been prudent to undertake it from Damascus. I 
now can understand why the Pacha's man, into whose 
hands I was to be consigned, would take one thousand 
men, because the Arab chief had threatened to cut 
off his beard and strip all his people naked if he took 
me at all. The honour, the Arab said, should be his, 
as the desert was his. In the spring, however, we 
mean to try it again, and hope to succeed. 

" When Bruce was nursing Mr. Barker, I made an 
experiment on the good faith of the Arabs. I went 
with the great chief, Mohanna El-Fadel, into the 
desert for a week, and marched three days with their 


encampment. I was treated with the greatest respect 
and hospitality, and it was, perhaps, altogether the 
most curious sight I ever saw horses and mares fed 
upon camel's milk, Arabs living upon little else, 
except a little rice, and sometimes a sort of bread, 
the space around me covered with living creatures, 
twelve thousand camels coming to water from one 
tribe only. The old poets from the banks of the 
Euphrates, singing the praises and the feats of ancient 
heroes ; children quite naked ; women with lips dyed 
light blue and their nails red, and hands all over 
flowers and designs of different kinds ; a chief who 
is obeyed like a great king ; starvation and pride so 
mixed, that I really could not have had an idea of it ; 
even the cloths 1 presented to the sons of Mohanna 
they could not carry, indeed hold, but called a black 
slave to take them. However, I have every reason to 
be perfectly contented with their conduct towards me, 
and I am the Queen with them all. 

" We came to this place to be near the desert, and 
to learn a little of what is going on there from good 
authority the Arabs being still at war, it is necessary 
to be aware of their proceedings. Last month the 
weather was delightful, but of late it has snowed, and 
so much rain has fallen, that not a house in the place 
is habitable ; every room is a pond, and there is no 
communication between one part of the town and the 
other, from the Orontes having overflowed, firing very 
scarce, and everybody very miserable. A village a 
mile off has been half-destroyed, and fifty persons 
killed, either by the falling of the houses or drowned. 

" Not long ago a body of Albanians, by the order of 
the Pacha, entered this town, took the Governor out 
of his bed, put him in chains, and carried him off and 
seized all his property, and also every fine horse they 

1812-1816] HAMAR 143 

could lay their hands upon. A very showy horse 
Suleiman Pacha of Acre had given me I had given to 
the Doctor, and it was waiting for him before the door 
of a public bath ; the Albanians were marching off 
with that also, although told that it belonged to a 
Frank, and not a Turk. One, however, asked, ' Is the 
Frank one of the Queen's people?' Upon being 
answered in the affirmative, he said, ' Take the horse 
to the stable, I shall not touch it; but some of our 
people may, not knowing to whom it belongs.' What 
I have before told you about myself I know, my dear 
General, looks like conceit, but it is true, and it is 
something to have one's people and things respected 
at a moment when no legislative power exists in a 
place, and every one is in fear and trembling. 

" As soon as the weather mends Mulla Ismael, the 
powerful Delebache, will return from Damascus ; he is 
a great friend of mine, and I shall go out to meet him 
in the Turkish way it will be a compliment to him, 
and, besides, make me personally known to those of 
his troops who have not seen me before. He is a very 
jolly Turk, and has four wives here, and, I believe, 
fifty women so many, that I cannot count them ; they 
are all very good to me, and less shut up than any 
women I ever saw in this country. No Pacha has 
ever yet succeeded in cutting off this man's head, 
though many have tried ; but he is too powerful, and 
the Arabs are too fond of him. He has taken refuge 
among them twice, and he now feeds every Arab that 
comes into Hamar as a mark of his gratitude. ... I 
received above one hundred pages from dearest James 
altogether; he last wrote when just embarking for 
England with his General. I find Lord Wellington 
intends hereafter (on his return to Spain) to place him 
under my old friend Colonel Gordon, which I shall 


be very glad of if he is obliged to leave Sir T. 

The following letter was addressed to Elizabeth 
Williams' married sister at Malta : 

" HAMAR (a very quizzical town upon the Orontes, 
on the border of the desert). 

"January 22nd, 1813. 

" DEAR MRS. FERNANDES, Your kind and very 
entertaining letter only reached me a month ago, at 
this place, though it bears the date of the 6th of April 
last. This, and all my other letters were detained at 
Smyrna, as they did not like to send them during the 
height of the plague. Upon my arrival at Constanti- 
nople ages ago, I heard you were gone to England, 
and thinking that a letter, like a leaf out of a volume 
of travels, would not much interest Mr. Fernandes, 
and that he would not have time to answer it without 
inconveniencing himself by so doing, I did not write. 
Last year I heard from Captain Beaufort of your 
return to Malta, but in the miserable state I was in, 
I had no inclination to write any letters but those 
absolutely necessary. Since that time I have never 
been quiet in any one place, and have had so much to 
do, as you may imagine in a country where one must 
have two interpreters, one to speak Turkish, another 
for Arabic ; and even the latter language differs so 
much in its pronunciation, that that spoken in Egypt is 
hardly understood here. You have heard, I suppose, 
that I am dressed as a man ; sometimes as Chief of 
Albanians, sometimes as a Syrian soldier, sometimes 
as a Bedouin Arab (the famous robbers in the desert), 
and at other times like the son of a Pacha. The dress 
of the great is like something in a play, and in fact 

1812-1816] BEDOUIN DRESS 145 

much more decent than that of our fine ladies ; that of 
the soldiers as much so, only they wear arms ; the 
Bedouin's quite ridiculous. I will try and describe it, 
and will begin by the head. A square handkerchief 
made of coarse cotton and silk, folded from corner to 
corner, this put over a red nightcap, or skull crown, 
as if to protect it from a shower of rain, with one 
corner behind, and one on each side, like an old- 
fashioned wig; round the head, to bind it on, are 
several rows of thick cord, as big as two fingers, made 
of horse or camel's hair, put round three or four times. 
A shirt, a pair of large drawers, and a thing of the 
coarsest materials, sometimes cotton (white), or some- 
times silk (red), not unlike a bedgown, fastened with 
a leather belt, over that a pelisse of curly white sheep- 
skin, the leather dressed white, or orange colour, or 
copper colour, and over that a sort of immense 
cloak with armholes (called abba), made of a sort 
of carpeting, of two different sorts, one with 
stripes of black and white, six inches wide, or 
a white sort, with gold on the right shoulder, which 
is the kind worn by the sons of great chiefs, 
and that which I wear; then a large pair of yellow 
boots, and a lance twelve feet long decorated with 
black feathers. This figure am I, now writing to 
you. It is the only dress to wear travelling here in 
winter, when you live in tents, or houses, less weather- 
proof than those are I have been obliged to inhabit 
upon the borders of the desert. At Cairo and Damas- 
cus I was very smart in the Turkish way. I have 
seen at the latter place what no other traveller has 
seen the harems of the great men. The magnificence 
of them is not to be described, nor the number and 
size of the apartments; the court of one of them really, 
I think, the size fully of Hanover Square, with fountains 


playing in the middle, and all paved with coloured 
marble, exquisitely beautiful. The Pacha of Egypt, 
the Pachas of Acre and Damascus, have all treated me 
as if I had been the Grand Vizier himself, which 
makes all the common people imagine that I am a 
queen. The Turks also estimate a person by their 
riding well or ill ; and never having seen a woman 
ride out of a foot's pace, or ride the scampering horse 
of a great Pacha, they argue that I must be something 
very extraordinary indeed. To confess the truth, I 
like the Turks very much ; they are very polite and 
well-mannered, and I have found them very hospitable. 
So, indeed, have I even the Bedouin Arabs in the 
desert. Most people are afraid of them, but I am not. 
I have lived amongst them for a week together in the 
desert, and was always treated with the greatest 
respect and kindness. I have lodged fifteen of them in 
my house at a time, and they have behaved quietly and 
well, only eat most immensely to make up for eating 
so little when at home. A little rice and camel's milk 
is their chief food, and they have no water. I carried 
what I wanted upon camels. I write and write to 
Williams, but descriptions do not seem to amuse her, 
and she never tells me any news, for she says she 
knows none. What is she about ? I left her, hoping 
she would marry well, like her sister, and do better 
for herself than it would ever be in my power to do 
for her. . . . All my English news is so old that I 
shall not talk about it. People think of nothing here 
but the French in Russia, and seem to expect they 
will fly all over the world. Whenever you have time, 
I shall be very happy to hear from you, and if any 
friend of yours should happen to come into this 
country, pray give me the opportunity of returning (by 
my civility and attention to them) a little of that 

1812-1816] DR. MERYON 147 

hospitality I received from Mr. Fernandes and your- 
self when at Malta. I am a queer animal, it is true, 
but very popular with the Turks at least. What I am 
with the Christians is of little consequence to me 
here, as they have no weight whatever in this country; 
if ever so rich, must not even ride a horse, or wear a 
shawl upon their head, or yellow slippers ; yet are not 
allowed to wear the dress of their country, or rather 
a Frank dress. . . . Oh, I forgot to tell you that the 
gentlemen have all long beards. And the Doctor is 
such a quiz you can have no idea of ; his head shaved, 
and a pigtail coming out of the crown a yard long, a 
copper-coloured sheepskin, and a pipe, six feet long, 
never out of his mouth. He never stands two minutes, 
and squats about all over the house, sometimes upon the 
roof, sometimes upon the stairs, the court, and all the 
house ; when in the air, pulls a mat after him to sit 
down upon ; washes his hands every five minutes, and 
always eats with his fingers, without knife or fork, 
like a Turk. As for our servants, you would die of 
laughing to see them ! And they are so armed ; a 
blunderbuss, a gun, a large knife, and a pair of pistols. 
The cook cooks away with his pistols on. It is all 
vastly amusing indeed. I shall hate to see quiet, 
unarmed people for the rest of my life, I am sure. . . . 
I like my wandering Arab life of all things, and, thank 
God, my health is pretty good. I ride all my journeys, 
and my horse is an everlasting one. He brought me 
three days' journey out of the desert without drinking." 

Lady Hester to Mr. Henry Williams Wynn 


"January I5///, 1813. 

11 1 cannot now go back to describe the Pacha of 
here and the dear Jew, or the honours they bestowed 


upon me, or tell you how I was received by Monsieur 
Taitbout, the French Consul at Sayde, the fetes which 
were given me by the Emir and Sheick Beshyr, and of 
my triumphal entry into Damascus, dressed as usual, 
in spite of all the lectures I received from Mr. North 
by letter, and the fright I put all the Christians into, 
and most of all, my famous visit to the Pacha of 
Damascus in the night during the Ramazan, midst 
illuminations and thousands of people ; the conquests 
I made of great Turks, Chiefs of Delebaches; and 
lastly, that of the great Emir Mohanna-el-Fadel, Chief 
of the Anazi Arabs, the tribes under his command 
amount to forty thousand men, who are all ready to 
draw their swords for me, and the Melliki is the 
subject of conversation all over the desert. ... I have 
orderly Arabs at my command, and receive despatches 
every two or three days, giving me an account of what 
is going forward in the desert, of what battles have 
been fought, and with what tribes war has been 
declared, &c., &c. . . . Twelve thousand troops having 
marched out of Damascus in various directions, I began 
to think it very dull, after all my most agreeable friends 
had left it, and finding Mr. Barker a very troublesome 
patient, with a fever that did not seem inclined to leave 
him, or rather that he had fixed a certain term for its 
duration, I took the determination to set off alone to 
Horns or Hamar, and pay, at least, my promised 
visit to Mohanna-el-Fadel, should he yet be near the 
borders of the desert. I found he had waited for me 
twenty-four days. I sent for him, and spent a week 
with my people in their tents, and marched three days 
with them. I had previously disarmed my servants, 
saying, I put myself into the hands of God and the 
great Emir, which succeeded admirably, for I did not 
lose the value of a para, and was treated with the 

1812-1816] HAMAR 149 

greatest kindness and respect. I was dressed as a 
Bedouin, and eat with my hands (not fingers), drank 
camel's milk, and rode surrounded with one hundred 
lances. What a sight it is at night to see horses, 
men, and camels repair to the tents, no one can 
have an idea of it but those who have seen it. One 
morning twelve thousand camels belonging to one 
tribe were carried to drink at once. 

"After this experiment I think I can rely on 
Mohanna's word, which has once more determined 
B. and myself to go to Palmyra under his pro- 
tection. . . . The Feadan, the powerful enemies, are 
now driven to the neighbourhood of Bagdad ; but 
parties still come this way, at least, about Palmyra. 
This is the danger of going with Mohanna, yet, please 
God, I must go. I have nine horses given me, three 
bad and six good ones, but I would not take any from 
the Arabs, though Mohanna offered me his own mare. 

" I respect poverty and independence. I am an ex- 
ample, at least, that it tells in some parts of the world, 
for if your very self-important Uncle was to come 
here and snort to the right and to the left, he would 
do nothing either with Turks or Arabs. 

" To command is to be really great, to have talents 
is to talk sense without a book in one's hand, and 
to have manners is to be able to accommodate oneself 
to the customs and tastes of others, and still to make 
them either fear or love you. Old G. has done neither 
at home ; a pretty business he has made of his politics, 
and a pretty scrape he has got you all into ! . . . 

" I shall probably spend the summer at Antioch, 
see the Kurds and Turkomans, and then I shall have 
seen everything in Syria to perfection, and know 
every leading character in it as well as I know the 
present Prime Minister of England. 


" There are some men of great talents in this 
country, but, generally speaking, the greatest rascals 
upon the face of the earth. But you know I like 
rascals better than fools, the latter do about the 
same portion of mischief in the world, and bore 
one to death besides. 

" I hope that the fog of London has not occasioned 
your health to relapse, 'and that you will take care 
of yourself in the spring, and not divide your time 
between hot rooms and the House of Commons. 
Remember to endeavour to break yourself of the 
family gabble. I believe I should have cured it, 
together with the W. W. W. flustration of manner, 
had I the pleasure of seeing more of you. The effect 
it produced on Mahadini Efifendi, who met you near 
Bosrah, is astonishing! I gave E." (Ebrington ?) " an 
account of it from Damascus. Do tell me how you 
find him, what is the matter with him, and why so 
out of spirits ? Dear creature that he is, when every- 
body loves him, how can he be unhappy? When you 
write to me fill a whole page about him, for he writes 
me little squeezy letters, and says very little always 
about himself. ... I wish your uncle Tom, Lord G., 
and the dear General, could breathe the air of the 
desert, they would then have no pains in their 
stomachs ; even the horses sniff as if taking snuff, 
it is so pure they quite live upon it, for they have 
little else to nourish them. 

" What is Taylor doing ? If my red shaloan at 
Constantinople amused him so, what would my 
present dress do ? It is that of the son of a chief, 
or young chief, a Bedouin handkerchief bound on 
with a sort of rope made of camel's hair, a curly 
sheepskin pelisse to reach to the knees, a white 
abba with a little gold on the right shoulder, crimson 

1812-1816] HAMAR 151 

loop and button, and two crimson strings or cords 
to fasten it. This is the true thing, with a lance with 
black feathers, mounted on a fine mare ; but I as yet 
ride a horse. I ride now quite at my ease, and should 
dislike a side saddle, I am sure. The Arabs are 
enchanted with my horsemanship, which is lucky 
for me ; they, as well as the Turks, think people 
who cannot ride absolute fools. Nobody was ever so 
popular with priests, Franks, Greeks, and Armenians 
as old North ; but the Turks at Damascus considered 
him quite contemptible because he could not ride at 
all, and walked fast. . . . Adieu, dear Wynn, when- 
ever you have time and inclination to write me a long 
letter I shall be happy to receive it. Tell me how 
dear old Sligo goes on. Where have I a relation who 
has been as kind to me as he has been the General 
excepted? .... Sheick Ibrahim, the traveller, after 
leaving me at Nazareth, went God knows where into 
the desert, and has discovered a second Palmyra, 
and at last arrived safe at Cairo, which he does not 
like at all." 

With the first breath of spring Lady Hester was 
diligently at work negotiating and preparing for her 
journey to Palmyra. 

" We do not intend," writes Mr. Bruce, " as at first, 
taking an escort to guard us against the Arabs, but 
to put ourselves under their protection. . . . Lady 
Hester has gained the friendship of Ishmael Aga, 
a great Delebache chief, who has guaranteed our 
safety. He is one of the most powerful men in Syria, 
and the Arabs stand in great awe of him. I think, 
therefore, that you need be under no apprehension 
of our being detained prisoners in the desert. 
Mohanna-el-Fadel, the chief of all the tribes known 


by the name of Anizi, comes here to-morrow in order 
to escort us. If Lady Hester succeeds in this under- 
taking, she will at least have the merit of being the 
first European female who has ever visited this once 
celebrated city. Who knows but she may prove 
another Zenobia, and be destined to restore it to its 
ancient splendour? perhaps she may form a matri- 
monial alliance with Ebn Seaod, the great chief of the 
Wahabees. He is not represented as a very lovable 
object; but, making love subservient to ambition, 
they may unite their arms together, bring about a 
great revolution, both in religion and politics, and 
shake the throne of the Sultan to its very centre. 
I wish you would come and assist them with your 
military counsel. How proud I should feel to learn 
the art of war under so accomplished a General! 
I only hope that Lady Hester's health will be able 
to resist the fatigue which she will unavoidably be 
exposed to." 

She herself writes full of joyous anticipation : 

" I have great confidence in the Arab chief; the 
Pacha sent an express for him almost at the same 
moment as mine arrived, and his answer was, 'The 
Queen must be served first.' 

" Mohanna waits my orders just as Lord Paget with 
his cavalry would do your's were you to command 
a great army. Upon receiving them he was to dispose 
of the different tribes under his command in the way 
he thought most advantageous in case of an enemy 
that is to say, not to leave a space, in a straight line, 
of more than a few hours, without tents. This settled, 
he was to set off and repair here with my second 
messenger. . . ." 

8 1 2-1 8 1 6] DEPARTURE FOR PALMYRA 153 

Lady Hester to General Oakes 

"March igth. 

" To-morrow, my dear General, I mount my horse 
with seventy Arabs, and am off to Palmyra at last. 
I am so hurried, I cannot write all I wish, but the 
Sir David Dundas of Syria I have made a conquest 
of, and he insisted upon speaking to the Arab chiefs, 
and said he would cut off all their heads if they did not 
bring me back safe. I owe much to the kindness of 
this old fellow, who, since I have resided here, has 
thought of nothing but how he could serve me. He 
tells me every day I must not leave off my Turkish 

" I have heard a few days ago from Captain Hope; 
he expects to come out again to the Mediterranean, 
and wishes to fetch me away from Syria if he can." 

She had deposited 3,000 piastres (about 150) as 
the price of her escort, one-third only to be paid 
in advance, the rest on her safe return ; but mere 
was much fear that the Arabs might be tempted to 
plunder and detain her. Unfortunately, the most 
absurd reports of her wealth had been current at 
Damascus. She was said to ride a horse worth forty 
purses, with housings and stirrups of pure gold; to 
receive every morning one thousand sequins from the 
English Sultan's treasurer ; to carry a book indicating 
where hidden treasure was to be found (Wood and 
Dawkin's views of Palmyra); and to possess a herb 
that transmuted stones into gold. What might she 
not be worth as a prisoner? What fabulous sum 
might not be asked for her ransom ? "I cannot," 
she writes to Lord Sligo, "enter into the detail of 
the dreadful stories that were told us of the danger 
we were running into, but all that did not deter me 
from my purpose." 

Her departure, on March 2oth, excited universal 
interest. For more than half a league out of the 
town eager crowds lined the way, and janissaries 
had to be employed to keep them off. All the party 


even the much-tried Mrs. Fry were dressed as 

" We set off with the two sons of the King of the 
Desert, forty camels loaded with provisions and water 
and presents, twenty horsemen, the Doctor, Mr. Bruce, 
myself, and an Arab dragoman, a second dragoman, 
and a Mameluke, too cooks, a Caffagi, four Cairo 
sayses, the Emir El-Akoar, a stud-groom, Mr. B.'s 
valet, and Madame Fry, two sakas or water-carriers, 
my slave, two ferrases or tent-pitchers, with an escort 
of Arabs. On the second day we arrived at the tents 
of the King of the Arabs, who had advanced to the 
borders on purpose to meet us. We remained there 
a day, and were very much entertained with Arab 
stories and civility. I then requested the Emir to 
move his camp to the northward. We proceeded, 
and passed through some other tribes, and encamped 
at night among the Beni Hez. The next day we 
passed through the Beni Kaleds, and encamped in a 
very desolate place, but sent for a guard from the 
tribe of the Sebah, who were not very far off. 

" Having visited the tribes of the Melhem, the Beni 
Hez, the Beni something else, and the Sebahs, we 
arrived on the eighth day at Palmyra. We met two 
thousand of the Sebahs upon their march, descending 
into the plain where we were reposing, from the Belaz, 
a mountain pass, with all their fine mares, little colts, 
little camels, little children, and hideous women, with 
the most extraordinary head-dresses and extraordinary 
rings at their noses, and preposterously tatooed in 
flowers and frightful figures. 

" You must not understand Palmyra to be a desolate 
place, but one in which there are fifteen hundred 
inhabitants. The chief and about three hundred 

1812-1816] PALMYRA 155 

people came out about two hours' distance to meet 
us. He and a few of the grandees were upon Arab 
mares, and dressed rather more to imitate Turks than 
Arabs, with silk shawls and large silk turbans. The 
men, at least many of them, had their whole bodies 
naked, except a pestimal, or petticoat, studded or 
ornamented with leather, blackamoors' teeth, beads, 
and strange sorts of things that you see on the stage. 
They were armed with matchlocks and guns, all 
surrounding me and firing in my face, with most 
dreadful shouts and savage music and dancing. They 
played all sorts of antics till we arrived at the 
triumphal arch at Palmyra. The inhabitants were 
arranged in the most picturesque manner on the 
different columns leading to the Temple of the Sun. 
The space before the arch was occupied with dancing 
girls, most fancifully and elegantly dressed, and 
beautiful children placed upon the projecting parts 
of the pillars with garlands of flowers. One, sus- 
pended over the arch, held a wreath over my head. 
After having stopped a few minutes, the procession 
continued. The dancing-girls immediately surrounded 
me. The lancemen took the lead, followed by the poets 
from the banks of the Euphrates, singing compli- 
mentary odes and playing upon various Arabian 
instruments. A tribe of hale Palmyrenes brought 
up the rear, when we took up our habitation in the 
Temple of the Sun, and remained there a week. 

" I must tell you that the difficulty of this enterprise 
was that the King of the Desert was at war with some 
very powerful Arabs, and it was from them we were 
in dread of being surprised, particularly as it was 
known that they had said that they could sell me 
for 25,000 piastres, or three hundred purses, and 
which they certainly thought they could get for my 


ransom at home. This was the most alarming part 
of the business. Our people, nevertheless, went out 
robbing every day, and came home with a fine khanjar, 
and some visible spoil. We heard of nothing but the 
advance of the enemy to the east of Palmyra, and we 
believed it, as we had taken five of their scouts 
prisoners, which we thought well secured at Palmyra ; 
but unfortunately one night one got out, and fearing 
that he would give the intelligence of what day we 
were to begin our journey back again, we set off 
before our intended time. We were, nevertheless, 
pursued by three hundred horses a few hours off, 
which fell upon the tribe of the Sebahs, and killed 
a chief and took some tents ; and the Sebahs, on their 
side, carried off twenty-two mares. We returned a 
different way, having made acquaintance with the 
tribe of the Amoors, the Hadideens, the Wahabees, 
and another battalion of Sebahs, including Wahabees, 
and a party of hunting Arabs that are dressed in the 
skins of wild beasts. We arrived in safety at the 
tents of the Grand Emir, Mohanna El-Fadel, who 
gave us a fine Arab feast and killed a camel, of which 
we partook. At two hours from Hamar, we were met 
by a corps of Delebaches, who were sent as a com- 
plimentary escort by Moli Ismail, a man of great note 
in Syria, who conducted us to his house, where dinner 
was prepared for three hundred people, and corn 
provided for all the Arab mares. Within a mile of 
Hamar, full ten thousand people were assembled out 
of curiosity, half of which were women, and many 
women of distinction, with Nasif Pacha's children, 
carried by slaves. Mashallah echoed from every 
mouth. Seldmet, ya meleky ; seldme, ya syt (welcome, 
Queen; welcome, Madam). El hamd Sillah (thank 
God). Allah kerym (the Lord is gracious). And this 

i8 1 2-1 8 1 6] HAMAR 157 

very interesting scene proved my Ladyship's popularity 
in Hamar. 

" Nothing in the world could have been so well 
managed, which proves me an eleve of Colonel Gordon's, 
for I was at once quartermaster, adjutant, and commis- 
sary-general. We were as comfortable upon our road 
as we were at home, and the Duke of Kent could not 
have given out more minute orders, or have been more 
particular in their being executed, which, in fact, is the 
only way of performing a thing of that sort with any 
degree of comfort. 

" We were excessively entertained with the different 
conversations of these people, and the extravagant 
though elegant compliments they paid me. They 
have got it into their heads that the only power 
which can affect them is Russia. They were always 
thanking God I was not Empress of Russia, other- 
wise their freedom would be lost. I am now getting 
translated into Arabic all the real achievements of 
the Emperor Alexander, on purpose to send to my 
friends in the Desert. They are the most singular 
and wonderfully clever people I ever saw, but require 
a great deal of management, for they are more 
desperate and more deep than you can possibly 
have an idea of. It would have very much amused 
you to see me riding like a Bedouin woman in a 
bird's nest made of carpeting upon a camel, and upon 
one of the fleet dromedaries like a Wahabee. I am 
enrolled as an Anisy Arab in the tribe of the Melhem, 
and have now the rights of the Desert, particularly 
that of recommending my friends who may wish to 
visit them. 

" After my return to Hamar, the immense number 
of Arabs that waited on me from all quarters was 
quite surprising. You think we have wasted our 


time in Syria, but certainly we have seen in great 
perfection what nobody else has, not even your friend 
Shaykh Ibrahim" (Burckhardt), "who, going under 
consular protection, was stripped stark naked in 
coming from Palmyra, and after having marched 
some days in this happy state, got a pair of shalwars 
(trousers) at a village, and in this figure entered 
Damascus. ... I only saw one mare, a Wahabee, 
that I thought perfection. The owner said he would 
not part with her for less than one hundred purses. 
The generality of their horses and mares is by no 
means so beautiful as you would imagine, but beyond 
anything excellent for swiftness and fatigue. I could 
write volumes upon different circumstances that took 
place on this interesting journey, which I certainly 
recommend to no traveller to undertake without being 
well aware of the carte du pays, and having consider- 
able abilities to plan and great energy to go through 
with it. When you are once in the scrape nobody 
can get you out of it, for no Pacha has sufficient 
authority over them to be the least depended upon. 
They no sooner heard of our intention of going with 
the Pacha's people than they said they should cut off all 
their beards and send them naked about their business. 
For my part I believe they would have been as good 
as their word. The idea of telling them cock-and-bull 
stories, and treating them like fools, is perfectly incor- 
rect; they are much more difficult to manage than 
any Europeans I have ever seen. . . . There was a 
chief that Lord Petersham would die of envy before, 
as he was as eveille as a Frenchman, and presented 
himself with the air of Lord Rivers or the Duke of 
Grafton. Respecting etiquette and politeness, these 
people certainly far exceed even the Turks; but for 
eloquence and beauty of ideas (though one can hardly 

1812-1816] QUEEN OF THE DESERT 159 

be a judge of it) they undoubtedly are beyond any 
other people in the world. 

" To expect a frigate upon this coast till the plague 
is quite gone is out of the question, and to pop into 
a nasty infected ship would be folly." 

Lady Hester to Mr. PL W. Wynn 


"June 30/7*, 1813. 

" DEAR WYNN, Without joking, I have been 
crowned Queen of the Desert under the triumphal 
arch at Palmyra ! Nothing ever succeeded better than 
this journey, dangerous as it was, for upon our return 
we were pursued by two hundred of the enemy's horse, 
but escaped from them. They were determined to 
have the head of the chief who accompanied us, yet 
sent me an ambassador in secret to say that I need fear 
nothing, that everything belonging to me should be 
respected; such were the orders given out to this 
powerful tribe by five of their chiefs assembled in the 
neighbourhood of Bagdad. The Slepts (the Arabs 
who live by hunting and are dressed in the skins of 
beasts), the bands from the banks of the Euphrates, 
story-tellers, and Wahabees, all paid me homage. If 
I please I can now go to Mecca alone', I have nothing 
to fear. I shall soon have as many names as Apollo. 
I am the sun, the star, the pearl, the lion, the light 
from Heaven, and the Queen, which all sounds well 
in its way ; for example, ' Salutation from the Warrior 
Hedgerez, son of Shallun, to our great Mistress, 
Pearl of Friends and Standard of High Honour.' 
I have five hundred letters from these people, one 
more amusing than the other. Old ' G.' would be six 
months squeezing out as many beautiful ideas as they 
produce in ten minutes, both in conversation and 
upon paper. I am quite wild about these people ; and 


all Syria is in astonishment at my courage and my 
success. To have spent a month with some thousand 
of Bedouin Arabs is no common thing. For three 
days they plagued me sadly, and all the party but B. 
almost insisted on returning. The servants, frightened 
out of their senses, always had their eyes fixed upon 
their arms or upon me. The dragoman could not 
speak, he had quite lost his head. All the people 
about me were chosen rascals, and having primed a 
fellow who was once with the French army in Egypt, 
I rode dash into the middle of them and made my 
speech ; that is to say, I acted and the men spoke. 
It so surprised them and charmed them that they all 
became as humble as possible ; and here ended any 
unpleasant scenes with them. I really believe that 
some of them now have a sincere affection for me, as 
their conduct proved on several occasions. One in 
particular: a chief not resenting, or allowing his people 
to resent, a blow that had been given him by an Arab 
of another tribe, an outrage to be punished with death. 
He said : ' Were we to fight, you might lose your life 
in the confusion, and inevitably be robbed ; therefore 
we shall put it off and have the man's blood another 
time.' This was neither cowardice nor indolence, but 
an act of real friendship, which any one who saw the 
effect the blow had produced could not have doubted. 
I had been riding upon a camel like a Bedouin woman 
for my amusement, and was just going to mount a 
dromedary to ride like a Wahabee, all those about me 
ran away in an instant and left me with a troublesome 
beast who would not keep on his knees long enough 
for me to get up. Had you witnessed the fury of 
these people when they saw their chief struck ! To 
me it was quite delightful ; they were all ready to die 
in a moment ; yet were quiet, however, as soon as the 

i8 1 2-i 8 1 6] LATAKIA 161 

chief spoke. But revenge was painted in the counten- 
ances of all his people. When the world becomes 
still more corrupt, when people civilized people 
become still more brutal and still more incisive, it is a 
pleasure to reflect that there is a spot of earth inhabited 
by what we call barbarians, who have at least some 
sense of honour and feeling, and where one is sure 
never to be bored with stupidity or gabble, for they 
are the most brilliant and eloquent people I ever 
knew. Nobody must ever give an opinion about the 
charms of the desert who has not seen above fifteen 
hundred camels descend the Belap mountains into the 
enchanting vale of Mangoura, and a tribe of Arabs 
pitch their tents upon beds of flowers of ten thousand 
hues, bringing with them hundreds of living creatures 
only a few days old, children, lambs, kids, young 
camels, or puppies. But it would be quite in vain for 
me to attempt to give a G." (Grenville) " an account of 
my empire, they who can enjoy nothing but grand 
walks and trim shrubs ; if I could inspire any one of 
them with a different taste, I should be blamed, and 
be unhappy when obliged to admire the dulness and 
grandeur of S." (Stowe) " and the confined missified 
beauties of D." (Dropmore) ; " as for B." (Boconnoc), 
" it was made for its late owner, and for a great mind. 
" I should think Lord G." (Grenville) " was not in 
the best humour just now at C.'s" (Canning) "rising 
popularity. I am indignant that a man who positively 
refused a few years ago to follow Mr. P." (Pitt) 
" should now, from interested motives only, stick him- 
self up as the representative of his principles. ... If it 
should plague Lord G., I must say he deserves it, for 
his want of feeling and liberality. Had he, upon 
Mr. P.'s death, sent for my brothers (whom he might 
freely have considered as his children), offered them 


162 THE PLAGUE [CH. iv 

a seat in Parliament without any restrictions, and have 
added he had done this out of respect to the memory 
of his friend, as he knew it was his intention that one, 
if not both, should be brought forward in public life, 
Mr. P. might then have had a representative, and Lord 
G. at least a generous political enemy, or had they 
either then or hereafter attached themselves to his 
party, he would have secured (for their age) the most 
sincere and able friends he ever yet had. . . . What 
apolitical pearl dear E." (Ebrington?) "would have 
been, so pure, so moderate, yet so firm, and you might 
have been made to work and speak plain. 

" Here I am in the midst of the plague ; it is all over 
Syria, Aleppo only is free from it as yet. This is 
a great bore, for, though we ride out every day, still 
it would not be prudent to travel. . . . Above seven 
thousand people (above half the population of Tripoli) 
have died of the plague. Here it is only slight, but 
the French Consul has left the place for a village, and 
not a Frank hardly will put their head out of window. 
We are very well off in a house, to make up for what 
we suffered last winter. You will hardly believe me 
when I tell you that the cold made me so ill that for 
more than two months I never walked upstairs, and 
I mounted my horse to go into the desert in this state. 
I would go I would keep my word with the Arabs. 
I improved daily, and in a fortnight generally travelled 
from seven, eight, nine or ten hours per day. I came 
back vastly improved, both in health and spirits ; but 
although I am not myself afraid of the plague, yet I think 
it right to take proper precautions; and the servants are 
such bores, frightened out of their senses, fancying if 
they have got a little dust in their eyes, or have eaten 
too much, it is the plague, and yet so careless, it is all 
I can do to prevent them from buying things out of 

1812-1816] LATAKIA 163 

Egyptian shops to get the plague and getting out 
upon all occasions. You must not consider this scrawl 
as the picture of my mind, which is tolerably com- 
posed in all its troubles, and much more anxious 
about others than myself, and not a little for 
absent friends. . . . E." (Ebrington ?) "came into my 
head every quarter of an hour while passing through 
some beautiful valleys inhabited by the Kurds, and 
filled with myrtles fourteen or twenty feet high ; the 
shepherds all play upon reeds, and vastly well too. 
This place is very beautiful ; trees down to the edge 
of the sea, olives covered with grape vines, fig-trees 
of an immense size, and every other luxuriant plant 
which the country abounds with. And I feel myself 
in the dominions of Soliman Pacha, every thing bows 
before me at his command and that of my dear friend 
the Jew. There is talent ! He would turn old G. round 
his finger. . . . The Captain Pacha it is said is coming 
up this way, but I think he is in all probability only 
gone to seize the treasure of a Pacha who died lately 
in Caresmania. I have heard that the plague is at 
Malta, and am in great tribulation about General 
Oakes, Colonel Anderson, and poor Williams and her 
sister. To be isolated in this manner is not pleasant ; 
but, however, I ought to thank God the plague here is 
slight. It is said here to have got to Russia, how 
there I know not, but heaven avert its reaching 
England, the fleet, and Spain. . . . Too much care 
cannot be taken at the different ports." 

In neither of these letters does Lady Hester make 
any allusion to a very disagreeable incident in her 
journey to Palmyra, of which Mr. Bruce gives the 
following account. It was her habit every evening, 
when the business of encamping was over, to go to the 
tent where they assembled for meals, and summon the 
Arab chiefs to come and talk with her. The Emir 


Nasar (Mohanna's son, and the leader of the expedi- 
tion) had till then responded to her call with great 
alacrity ; but on the fifth day after their departure 
from Hamar, he refused to come, sending back word 
that " Lady Hester might be the daughter of a vizir, 
but he, too, was the son of a prince, and was not 
disposed at that moment to leave his tent. If she 
wanted him, she, or her interpreter, might come to 
him." It was whispered about that he was very 
moody, and meant mischief, and there was much 
perturbation and anxiety in the camp. Lady Hester 
alone was perfectly unmoved and unconcerned. 

The next evening brought graver cause for alarm. 
After dinner, as they sat discussing what they should 
do if Nasar proved treacherous, they heard a great 
noise and confusion outside, and Lady Hester's 
servant rushed in to tell them that some of the mares 
were missing, a party of Faydan Arabs reported to 
be prowling round the camp, and all the Bedouins 
arming and mounting in pursuit. Nasar himself rode 
away with the rest, and they suddenly found the 
whole of their escort gone. They were left in the 
heart of the desert, without guide or bearings, knowing 
neither where they were, nor how to find the wells 
on which their existence depended, encumbered with 
a great pile of luggage, most tempting as booty, and 
so few in number as to be at the mercy of any strong 
band of marauders. The situation was extremely 
critical ; but Lady Hester, undismayed, appeared " as 
cool as if in a ball-room." She gave orders that every 
man should take his gun and pistol, and stationed her 
little garrison at different points round the camp. 
After a time, however, Nasar and his Bedouins re- 
appeared, and it was shrewdly suspected he had been 
no farther off than some neighbouring sandhills, 
behind which he had watched the effect of his pro- 
ceedings. The whole scare was, in fact, a feint to 
test Lady Hester's nerve, and see whether she could 
not be frightened into paying a larger subsidy. 

She refers to her desert experiences in a subsequent 

Lady Hester to Mr. H. W. Wynn 

" Bruce ridiculed my mode of going to Palmyra ; 
I had my object for what I did. I had first been 

1812-1816] LATAKIA 165 

alone into the desert to try the good faith of these 
people, and made myself a regular Bedaween, and 
was admitted with the rights of one into the king's 
tribe. I travelled with them for three days. When 
I left them, I was attended by two of the Emir's sons, 
my new brothers. Forty-thousand Arabs were then 
at war (not half-a-dozen tents, as when Mr. B. was 
there) ; we were waylaid by a party of the enemy ; 
but, getting information of this, and taking another 
direction, and having good horses, we escaped. I 
was twelve hours on horseback, and when I got off, 
I stretched myself out upon the ground as if I had 
been dead, not from fright, but fatigue and want of 
water, and when I drank, I was well and as cheerful 
as ever in a quarter of an hour. But it was not quite 
satisfactory. Had they robbed me, they would not 
have got much, but the thing was to go in the 
character of a person who had something to lose. 
The next time I set off with forty camels and twenty 
horses, eighteen of which had been given to Bruce 
and me in this country. We remained thirty days 
with these people, whose character I had an oppor- 
tunity of investigating pretty thoroughly. His object 
was to see Palmyra ; mine to see the Bedaweens to 
perfection. I like the fine arts, yet, to say the truth, 
I am much more interested in the works of God than 
those of man. These savages, guided by their own 
wonderful abilities, and who have reduced the wants 
of human nature to a mere nothing, gave a most 
wonderful example of mental and bodily strength. 
Besides, the beauty of parts of the desert in early 
spring are not to be described. Almost all the 
bulbous plants we rear with so much care spring 
up in a fortnight as if by magic, bloom amongst 
innumerable, unknown, odoriferous herbs, and fade, 


nearly as quickly, by the great heat and drying 

Having accomplished Palmyra, Lady Hester next 
turned her steps to Latakia, on the sea-coast, where 
she took a house for the summer, while awaiting an 
opportunity of leaving the country. The plague was 
then depopulating Syria ; at Damascus alone it was 
believed to have carried off 100,000 souls, and it is 
clear that at that time she had fully made up her mind 
to go. 

Lady Hester to General Oakes 


"July 15, 1813. 

"The plague is all over Syria (Aleppo excepted). 
Here, thank God, it has been slight, and is upon the 
wane, as is the case everywhere where it has been 
for some time ; besides, they pretend the heat destroys 
it, which I do not believe, for it raged with great 
violence last year at Constantinople in very hot 
weather. I only heard about a fortnight ago that it 
had broken out at Malta ; what I have felt for your 
health from that moment I cannot express, as I fear 
it is not in a state to bear increased fatigue and mental 

"You must have too much to think of just now, 
for me to trouble you with an account of our journey 
into the desert, which is considered as the most 
extraordinary ever made in this country. All those 
who know the Arabs only wonder we ever returned 
alive. Bruce wrote you one line from Hamar, ' the 
very day, I think, of our arrival there, for a report 
had been spread at Aleppo and Damascus that we 
had been cut to pieces. . . . Any letters you may 
receive from this time, send, if you please, to Smyrna, 
for we shall get away from here as soon as we can 
get a good passage, either in a ship of war, or a ship 

1 8 1 2-1 8 1 6] LATAKIA 167 

of this country, when no longer infected by the plague ; 
but they are not safe just now ; nor is this good 
weather up here, the heat is so great at sea, and there 
are frequent calms. Hope suffered much last year at 
this season. October is the best month to leave the 
coast, after the equinoctial gales are over. . . . As far 
as country and a good house goes, we are very com- 
fortable ; as well off as ill off last winter." 

But when October came, her mood had changed, 
and it was Mr. Bruce, not she, who left Syria. He 
was summoned home by his father, who had no doubt 
long been pressing him to return to England, and 
the danger from the plague made it doubly desirable. 
He himself had probably had enough of the East, and 
felt he could not remain much longer away without 
expatriating himself altogether. But he and Lady 
Hester parted with mutual regret. She, too, dreaded 
the plague, and had, as we have seen, made plans of 
escape ; at one moment she announced that she was 
going back to Europe ; then she thought of Russia, 
and even of making her way to Bussora, and there 
embarking for India. But to England she would not 
go, it was the one impossible place ; and in the end 
she decided to remain where she was. 

She had been for some time enthusiastically em- 
ployed in trying to help the escaped Mameluke she 
had met at Jerusalem (see p. 123), and Mr. Canning, to 
whom she applied, had endeavoured to interest his 
friends in the cause. This is in answer to one of his 
letters on the subject : 


" October 22nd, 1813. 

" You must not be alarmed and think that I am 
going to keep up a correspondence with you, but I 
cannot avoid thanking you for your letter, and also 
for the trouble you have taken about the poor victim. 
All you say is very just ; but to say the truth it does 
not quite please me to hear rich men complain of 


poverty ; however, God will take care of His creatures 
in this and every other country. The English world 
are about as good-natured as I believed them to be. 
To ridicule a person said to be starving in a burning 
desert is very charitable ; but, poor souls ! their 
imagination is as miserable as their humanity is 
bounded, for it never, I suppose, entered their heads 
that I carried everything before me, and was crowned 
under the triumphal arch at Palmyra, pitched my tent 
amidst thousands of Arabs, and spent a month with 
these very interesting people. Let the great learn 
from them hospitality and liberality. I have seen an 
Arab strip himself to his shirt to give clothes to those 
he thought needed them more than himself. I have 
suffered great fatigue, it is very true, because all my 
people were such cowards, and they gave me a great 
deal of trouble; but yet I cannot regret past hard- 
ships, as it has given me the opportunity of seeing 
what is so curious and interesting, the manners and 
customs of the most free and independent people in 
the world. 

" In about a week I repair to a pretty convent at 
the foot of Lebanon for the winter. The Pacha of 
Acre is come into that neighbourhood to repair a 
castle, and the Prince of the Druses hunts within an 
hour of my habitation, so I shall often see him. We 
are very good friends, he is a very agreeable man, 
and very popular in the Mountain. I am quite at 
home all over the country; the common people pay 
me the same sort of respect as they do a great Turk, 
and the great men treat me as if I was one of them. 
In short, I am very happy in my own odd way ; part 
of this country is divine, and I always find something 
to amuse and occupy my mind. Now the good people 
of England may imagine me forlorn and miserable, 

i8i2-i8i6] MAR ELIAS, LEBANON 169 

they are very welcome. I would not change my 
philosophical life for their empty follies. 

" Mohammed Ali admitted me to the Divan ; and 
when at Acre I rode Soliman Pacha's parade horse, 
having the use of his own sword and khangar, all over 
jewels. My visit to the Pacha of Damascus in the 
night during the Ramadan was the finest thing 
possible. I was mounted on an Arab horse he had 
given me, my people on foot, and he surrounded with 
two thousand servants and picked guards, Albanians, 
Delibashis, and Mograbines. You see the Turks are 
not quite such brutes as you once thought them, or 
they could never have treated me with the degree of 
friendship and hospitality they have done." 

Mar Elias, the "pretty convent" here mentioned, 
was the occasional residence of the Patriarch of the 
Greek Catholics, who had civilly placed it at Lady 
Hester's disposal, at a rent of 30 a year. She 
had seen it during her rides in the Lebanon, and taken 
a fancy to the place. But it by no means commended 
itself to the doctor, when he was sent there to make 
arrangements for her reception, as, at the sight of his 
future residence, his " thoughts involuntarily turned 
towards England." He found, about two miles from 
Saida, a low square building, high up on the mountain- 
side, in a barren and lonely, though picturesque 
situation, commanding a wide view of the sea. There 
was no garden, only a few flowers and two small 
orange-trees in the square walled court. The roof of 
the house leaked, and a discoloration of the wall of 
the staircase was explained by the unpleasant fact that 
only a week or two before, a former Patriarch had 
been buried there, seated in his armchair. 

It was not till the following year that poor Lady 
Hester could take possession of her new home. On 
November 15th, when she was on the point of setting 
out, she was seized with the plague ; and the doctor 
took to his bed with low fever. For twelve days he 
was unable to attend her, and she was left to the care 


of a French doctor and an Italian surgeon. When, at 
last, urged by Mr. Barker, he took his place by her 
bedside, he found her so terribly ill that for twelve 
hours he despaired of her life, and Mr. B. (I presume 
in his official capacity) announced to her that she was 
going to die. When this crisis was past, it was still 
some time before she could be pronounced out of 
danger ; and then poor Mrs. Fry, worn out with 
nursing and anxiety, was laid up with a nervous fever. 
Two native women who took her place proved, how- 
ever, tolerably efficient, and Lady Hester was slowly 
recovering when she was attacked with ague. The 
winter rains had set in, and her sick-room was often 
inundated, for the house that had been so pleasant in 
summer time proved to be very far from weather- 
proof, and a cope of felt had to be stretched over her 
bed to keep off the water. No comforts of any kind 
were procurable, nor, except on rare occasions, any 
food but goat's flesh ; and her one anxiety was to get 
away from the place. But it was only on January ist 
that she was able to stand on her feet ; and on the 6th, 
when, after a detention of forty-eight days, she was at 
last allowed to leave the house, she at once rode down 
to the shore and embarked. She was so weak that it 
was with difficulty she was lifted upon her ass, and 
supported in the saddle. The six days' voyage to 
Saida was prosperous; but here she was detained 
some weeks, while the necessary repairs were carried 
out at Mar Elias, and had a return of her ague. At 
last, in the middle of February, she was installed in 
her new habitation, and the doctor in a cottage near at 

Lady Hester rose from her sick-bed greatly sobered 
and subdued ; even her wonderful nerve deserted her, 
and many months were to elapse before her vigorous 
constitution reasserted itself. For the time, she ap- 
peared to be a changed woman. She shut herself up, 
and lived in total seclusion, avoiding as far as possible 
all contact with the outer world, for the plague had 
reappeared with great virulence, both at Saida and in 
the Lebanon. The only person she received was 
Captain Forster, of H.M.'s sloop Kite, who had been 
sent to Saida by Sir Robert Listen at her own request. 
She had asked for the aid of a ship of war to examine 
the ruins of Ascalon where she proposed, with the 

1812-1816] BAALBEC 171 

authority of the Sultan, to search for hidden treasure. 
Some time before, a MS. had been placed in her hands 
that was said to have been surreptitiously copied by a 
monk from the records of a Frank convent in Syria, 
and found among his papers at his death. It was 
written in Italian, and disclosed the repositories of 
immense hoards of coin, buried in the cities of 
Ascalon, Awgy, and Sidon, at certain spots therein 
specified. Such modes of disposing of treasure were, 
owing to the general insecurity of property, not un- 
common in the East, where a man had to keep most of 
his valuables in his own possession, and could hardly 
carry them away with him in the event of a sudden 
flight. Lady Hester's belief in the story was therefore 
by no means so extravagant as it might have been 
thought in England. But Captain Forster, on recon- 
noitring the coast, found it impracticable to land at 
Ascalon, and so the matter dropped but only for a 

In July, Lady Hester was so prostrated with the 
heat that the doctor removed her to Mishmushy, a 
Druse village situated on a mountain top, where the 
Emir Beshyr, though somewhat grudgingly, had given 
her the use of a house. She remained for ten weeks 
in this lofty eyry, declaring she had never been more 
comfortable anywhere since she left Malta ; and on 
October i8th, revived and restored to her old buoyant 
self, she started on a long projected expedition to 
Baalbec. She dispensed with an escort, taking with 
her, besides the doctor, a dragoman and thirteen 
servants, of whom five were women. They travelled 
on asses, and reached Baalbec on the sixth day. Here 
the doctor, carried away by his enthusiasm, launched 
forth into poetry, and inscribed a Latin quatrain in 
Lady Hester's honour on the walls of the Temple of 
the Sun. But when it was translated to her, she 
promptly ordered it to be effaced. " While I was 
living with my uncle," she declared, " I never allowed 
any one either to sing my praises or paint my 
portrait." They only remained a fortnight, being 
advised that the passes of the Lebanon would shortly 
be blocked with snow ; and even as it was, they had a 
cold and stormy journey to Tripoli. At one of their 
halting-places, the Maronite convent of Mar Antonius 
(St. Anthony), the men only could be received, as the 


Saint's wrath was believed to wreak terrible vengeance 
on anything of the female sex bold enough to cross the 
threshold. Even the villagers' hens were kept cooped 
up lest they should stray into the sacred precincts. 
Lady Hester and her women were therefore lodged in 
a house hard by. No sooner had she arrived than she 
sent word to the Superior that she was about to test the 
Saint's gallantry, and proposed giving a dinner to him 
and some Shaykhs that were escorting her in one of 
the rooms of his monastery on the following day, 
hinting at the same time that the Sultan's firman 
empowered her to visit any place she chose, and that 
opposition to her meant opposition to him. The 
horror and indignation of the unhappy monks at such 
sacrilegious impiety may be conceived ; but they did 
not venture to offer open resistance, and when the 
dinner hour arrived, Lady Hester, mounted on her ass 
(a she-ass, be it observed), rode ostentatiously into 
the very hall of the monastery, visited every hole and 
corner of the building, sat down to dinner with the 
trembling Superior, and remained four hours within 
the jealously-guarded precincts. Many of the by- 
standers every moment expected the earth to open 
and swallow her up ; and the fame of her exploit was 
bruited far and wide. When she arrived at Tripoli, 
the whole population turned out in a pelting rain- 
storm to see her; and there, as elsewhere, she 
won the heart of the Pacha by all accounts a grim 
and formidable Pacha, who paid her every sort of 
honour during her stay. 

On January 28th, 1815, she returned to Mar Elias, 
and found the neighbourhood in great trepidation at 
the arrival of a Capugi Bashi, or Zaym, from Constan- 
tinople, whose presence was invariably of ill-omen. 
These emissaries of the Porte always persons of the 
highest rank were employed on missions connected 
with executions, confiscations, and imprisonment ; and 
it had been reported from Beyrout that the Zaym was 
instructed to carry Lady Hester to Constantinople as 
his prisoner. Wnen a messenger arrived requiring 
her presence at the Governor's house at Saida, both 
the doctor and the dragoman were aghast ; they 
already saw the bowstring dangling before their eyes, 
and hid their pistols in their girdle. Lady Hester was 
better informed, for she expected the Zaym, knowing 

1812-1816] MAR ELIAS 173 

the cause of his coming, and her answer to his 
peremptory message put matters on a very different 
looting. No Zaym had ever yet condescended to visit 
a Christian, yet the great man at once mounted his 
horse and came to Mar Elias, where he took up his 
abode as her guest. It seemed that, through Sir 
Robert Listen, she had communicated with the Sultan 
concerning the clue she possessed to hidden treasures 
in the Levant, offering to make over the whole of them 
to him, only reserving to herself the honour of the 
discovery, " since I never seek to appropriate the 
property of others." This offer was very favourably 
received, and the Zaym was entrusted with three 
firmans, one to the Pacha of Acre, another to the 
Pacha of Damascus, and another to all Governors of 
Syria, which were to be delivered to Lady Hester, and 
invest her with greater powers than perhaps any 
Ambassador, but certainly no unofficial Christian, ever 
before possessed. The redoubtable Zaym himself was 
placed under her direction. 

But how about the expenses, which must necessarily 
be great ? Her income was barely sufficient for her 
ordinary expenditure, and had been considerably 
exceeded by her journey to Baalbec, even though, 
from economy, it had been performed on asses instead 
of horses. She made up her mind to send in the bill 
to the English Government through Sir Robert Listen, 
averring that its payment was no more than her due 
for having gained such reputation for the English 
name. " If they refuse to pay me I shall put it in the 
newspapers, and expose them. And this I shall let 
them know very plainly, as I consider it my right and 
not a favour ; for, if Sir A. Paget put down the cost of 
his servants' liveries after his Embassy to Vienna and 
made Mr. Pitt pay him, I cannot see why I should not 
do the same." She had unhesitatingly constituted 
herself an Ambassadress, and desired the doctor to 
keep a strict account of all her payments. 

The excavations were to commence at Ascalon 
without loss of time. She wished, however, for 
another helper besides the Zaym, and sent off an 
express to one Malem Musa, at Hamar, of whom she 
had conceived a high opinion, desiring him to meet 
her at Acre. "You know," she writes, "that I am a 
straightforward person. An affair has happened that 


demands your presence at Acre. Be not alarmed, 
there is nothing serious in it, but let nothing prevent 
your coming, short of illness." 

She left Mar Elias in the middle of February, and 
was received at Acre with the honours of a princess. 
The tent afterwards used by the Princess of Wales, 
splendidly lined with bands of coloured satins, was 
assigned to her, with nineteen others in addition to the 
six she had brought with her ; she travelled in a 
gorgeous tartaravan (the despised palanquin of three 
years before) borne by two mules, which were 
changed every two hours, and her horse and favourite 
ass were led in front of it in case she preferred to ride. 

The work of exploration was begun with much 
enthusiasm, for it was generally believed that Lady 
Hester possessed a magic spell that revealed hidden 
treasure, and had come to the East for no other 
purpose than to use it. But it had to be abandoned as 
hopeless in ten days. Here is the account sent by 
Lady Hester to Lord Bathurst, then Secretary of 
State : 

" The mosque in which the treasure was said to be 
hidden was no longer standing. One wall only re- 
mained of a magnificent structure, which had been 
mosque, temple, church at different periods. After 
having traced out the S.W. and N. foundation walls, 
and after digging for several days within them, 
we came to the underground fabric we were 
looking for, but, alas ! it had been rifled. It was, 
as nearly as one could calculate, capable of containing 
three million of pieces of gold the sum mentioned in 
the document. Whilst excavating this once mag- 
nificent building for such it must have been by the 
number of fine columns and fine pavements we dis- 
covered underground we discovered a superb colossal 
statue without a head, which belonged to the heathens. 
It was eighteen feet below the surface. Knowing how 
much it would be prized by English travellers, I 
ordered it to be broken into a thousand pieces, that 

1812-1816] ACRE JAFFA 175 

malicious persons might not say I came to look for 
statues for my countrymen, and not for treasures for 
the Porte." 

This was dealing hard measure with a vengeance- 
all the harder because, as we have seen, she fully 
intended her countrymen to pay the bill. But she felt 
herself in a difficult position. She had failed in her 
quest, ulterior motives might be laid to her charge, 
and she knew that she was watched by jealous and 
suspicious eyes. 

On her way back she stopped for a time at Jaffa, for 
near there, at Awgy, another site for discoveries had 
been indicated, and she could still write in good faith, 
" The authenticity of the paper I do not doubt." But 
it was found impossible to identify the place described, 
and no exploration could be attempted. 

There is a certain tone of discouragement in her 
next letter. 

Lady Hester to General Oakes 


u April 2$tk> 1815. 

"You must not think that I am ungrateful, or that 
the interest I felt in your concerns is in the least 
diminished, although I am less anxious about you, 
knowing you to be in the midst of friends who love 
you. I received your kind letter, written at different 
periods and partly upon your voyage to England last 
October, just as I was about to leave Mount Lebanon 
for Balbeck. I returned to my convent the end of 
January, having made a long tour. Upon the very 
night of my arrival there the great person (mentioned 
in the enclosed paper) paid me a visit, indeed, took up 
his abode in my comfortable mansion for some time. 
Then I proceeded to Acre to pay my respects to the 
Pacha, and my guest from the Porte accompanied me. 
Therefore you see that from October I have never had 
a quiet moment I could call my own, and besides, 
occasions, either by sea or land, are scarce and unsafe 

176 MR. BRUCE [CH. iv 

in the winter season, and intending to send a person 
to England when all my business was over, I have 
deferred answering most of my letters to send them 
by this conveyance. 

" I have at last decided upon sending for James to 
take me away from this country, for I know so little of 
the state of the Continent, and feel in my own mind so 
doubtful of its remaining quiet, or, if it does, that I 
shall like it as formerly, that before I break up a 
comfortable establishment to form another at random, 
I wish to have the opinion of one who knows my 
tastes and whom I can depend upon. 

" I fear Bruce will turn out idle, though it is his 
ambition to be great, and I lament that his father 
changes his plans about him every day, and wishing 
him to be everything is the sure means of making him 
turn out nothing at last. I mention this to you, my 
dear General, that, should Bruce hereafter have the 
happiness of living a good deal in your society, you 
may recommend him a steady line of conduct, and not 
to put himself too forward in the world before he is fit 
for it. This was a maxim dear Mr. Pitt always 
preached to me, and was one of the instructions he gave 
me about my brothers, and which I have most strictly 
adhered to. James has risen gradually, and by his 
own merits, and is now, thank God ! in a situation 
which it has been the ambition of us both for many 
years that he should some day or other be thought 
worthy to fill. 

"James loves the Duke" (of York) "as I do, and 
would be ever ready to serve him with his life. The 
Duke is all kindness to him (as he is to every one 
about him), and when I know James to be perfectly 
happy, I am so very thankful to Heaven for having 
heard my prayers about him that I hardly think of 

i8i2-i8i6] JAFFA 177 

myself. What I have suffered is gone by, what I 
still may have to suffer in this world God knows best ; 
let it be what it will, may I only be resigned to my fate 
and to His pleasure. The Turks give me every day 
one proof of their superiority over Christians their 
submission to the will of Providence. 

" Whenever Lord Sligo returns to England I hope 
you will be kind to him. Poor man ! he only gets out 
of one scrape to get into another. The longer I know 
that man, the higher I think of the qualities of his 
heart, and the more I regret that those of his head do 
not equal that feeling which will be his ruin. Yet he 
does not want sense in many things far from it ; and 
I still think if he marries some pleasing, sensible girl, 
he may become a very respectable character. If not, 
he will surely be duped by some designing woman or 
other, and his character, as well as his fortune, will be 
gone in a few years. 

" If Lord Mulgrave ever mentions me, pray re- 
member me kindly to him, for I really believe he had 
a friendship for Mr. Pitt, though artful Canning used 
formerly to take great pains to make me believe it was 
all affected ; but since he has turned out himself a 
perfect political chameleon, one may be permitted to 
mistrust a few of his opinions. . . . Gen. Maitland is 
very civil to me in his way, but his way is not yours. 
I am not now all anxiety to see or hear what everybody 
says who comes from Malta, though I understand you 
are much regretted. I have not heard for some time 
from Col. Misset, who really must have been, when in 
good health, a very charming man, for he is vastly 
interesting as he is, so upright, so like a gentleman in 
thought, word, and deed. Of Anderson I know 
nothing; for some months he has not written to me. 
The Pacha of Acre and all the leading people in this 


country continue to be vastly kind to me, even more 
so than before, if possible, and I am upon the whole as 
comfortable as a hermit can be." 

As the whole of Lady Hester's correspondence with 
her brother has been destroyed, it is impossible to 
determine how or why her intention of leaving Syria 
fell through. She never alludes to it again. 

It was during this journey that a messenger arrived 
from Sir Sidney Smith, announcing that he " had 
come to take Lady Hester away." He brought several 
letters, dated as far back as the preceding December. 
The first began : 

Sir Sidney Smith to Lady Hester 

" MY DEAR COUSIN, I received yours from Latakia. 
On my way to England I spoke to Freemantle, whom 
I saw at Gibraltar, to send you a frigate ; for I am at 
present no longer in command. My nephew, Thurlow 
Smith, has got the Undaunted (the ship which carried 
Bonaparte to Elba), and he will contrive, if possible, 
to come to you, as I say all I can of the necessity of 
guarding our trade in that quarter. ... I shall leave 
Vienna after the Congress for Florence and Leghorn, 
when I hope to meet you in the month of April." 

The second revealed his real object in writing. He 
was planning an expedition against the Algerine 
corsairs, which, though highly approved by four 
crowned heads, hung fire for lack 01 funds. No one 
would give him any money. Finding his debts pretty 
large, he had given up his goods and chattels to his 
creditors in England, and had brought his all to 
Vienna on eight wheels. He was so far reduced as 
to be obliged to beg a loan from his Syrian friends, 
and he charged Lady Hester with the commission. 
She was to deliver a grandiloquent letter he enclosed 
to the Emir Beshyr, and prevail upon him to furnish 
fifteen hundred men for the expedition. 

Lady Hester absolutely refused. She pointed out 
that to ask the Emir for troops, without the knowledge 

i8i2-i8i6] SAYDA 179 

of the Sultan, would be to endanger the prince's life ; 
and she urged upon him the abandonment of his 

" Not to admire your intention in the cause of 
humanity, and the feelings which dictate your con- 
duct, would be impossible ; but I could wish you to 
reflect a little, and if the thing is to be undertaken, 
to do it in the most open, fair, honourable way pos- 
sible. I am much too proud to care for popularity 
you, much too vain not to like it. Therefore, take 
care how you sink that which you have gained in the 
country. There is one thing which you seem to have 
forgotten, or to be ignorant of, that Turkey has been 
almost as much exhausted by the plague as Europe 
has been by war. Damascus only has buried above 
one hundred thousand souls." 

On her return to Sayda, the last search for hidden 
treasure took place at the third site indicated ; this 
time with little hope of success, and the same dismal 
failure. Nothing was left but to dismiss the Zaym 
with the present of a black slave and a cashmere 
shawl, and to send in the bill to Constantinople. Of 
course it was not paid ; and the whole expense neces- 
sarily devolved upon her. She had to borrow the 
money from Mr. Barker; and this, as the doctor 
declares, was the first occasion on which she ever 
found herself in debt. She now set about to econo- 
mise ; dismissed all superfluous servants, and resumed 
her secluded life in the Lebanon. 

Lady Hester to General Oakes 


"June 25/>fc, 1815. 

" It gives me great pleasure to find that your health 
has been able, at any rate, to withstand the great 
fatigue and worry of those extravagant gaieties, of 


which we Turks have no idea. Finding yourself so 
much better when travelling should induce you, I 
think, to make a tour in the spring and summer, and 
to get out of the way of great dinners. To live like 
a Turk for the time, and to take plenty of exercise 
without heating yourself, and to live a great deal in 
the open air would, I think, do you more good than 
medicine at least, it would but be fair to give it a 

" I send you by Giorgio, a Greek in my service, 
some tigers' skins, for I think I recollect that you 
liked them. Here the covering of a horse reaches 
to his tail, and the tigers' skins look very well when 
made up with crimson; but silver and gold quite 
spoils their effect, I think. Giorgio will explain 
(should you like it) the fashion of Syria, for you to 
improve upon it. You will find the boy not stupid, 
but he is not all he ought to be, though honest in 
money matters. Don't spoil him, pray, or take his 
humble manner for humility, for he is at bottom 
conceit itself; but he may amuse you, and I should 
like to hear an account of your looks from some one 
who has seen you lately. 

" Your wine goes with him to Malta, from thence 
it must be sent as it can. This is more Bruce's 
present than mine, for he was so anxious to procure 
you some, and did give a large order for wine, which 
was put by, but sold because not transported directly, 
which the plague would not allow of. My wine has, 
alas ! been sold twice, though I paid half the value 
before the grapes were ripe. You cannot, in any 
possible way, procure any above a year old, for the 
peasants want their jars, and still more the settling 
of the wine, to make a sort of bad wine of, with 
commoner grapes, which they quash up together, 

i8i2-i8i6] MAR ELIAS 181 

and sell to the mountaineers for their own use. I 
send you also a box of soap like that used by the 
Sultan's women. 

" If ever you see Sir David Dundas, pray remember 
me kindly to him. Tell him I am the Sir Pivot of the 
East. I never forget, however, that I owe not a little 
of my military fame to having borne the name of 
his aide-de-camp when he commanded in Kent. 
Many people do not like him because he did not make 
a good Commander-in-chief. I like him the better for 
it. There is but one sun, one moon, and one Com- 
mander-in-chief. We want no more ! " 

Not many days after this letter was written, Giorgio 
was on his way to England, charged with a multitude 
of commissions, of which the most important was to 
bring back another doctor. Dr. Meryon, who had 
been for some time heartily weary of his position, 
now finally announced that he would remain no 




SHORTLY after her return to Mar Elias, Lady Hester 
heard, with great concern, that Mr. Bruce had got 
involved in serious trouble at Paris. He had, together 
with Sir Robert Wilson and Captain Hutchinson, 
contrived the escape of Count Lavallette, who, con- 
demned to death for high treason, had been got put 
of prison on the very eve of his execution, having 
excnanged clothes with his wife during their parting 
interview. They had procured for him the uniform 
of an English general-officer, and in this disguise he 
passed through the barriers with Sir Robert unrecog- 
nised, and made his way out of the country. This 
was on April 24th, 1816, and Mr. Bruce was there- 
upon thrown into prison. She sent him the kindest 
of letters, offering to come herself if she could be of 
use ; she had, indeed, at that time, some idea of going 
to meet her brother in France. " James et mes ami(s) 
ne cessent de me tourmenter pour les rejoindre, mais 
la France n'est plus la France, pleine d'Anglais et de 
Russes. Si nptre affaire est heureusement terminee, 
je n'y viendrai que pour embrasser mon frere cheri, 
et pour m'enfoncer dans quelque vieux chateau, loin 
de tous les intrigans, que je deteste." This was 
written in French, as it was to be shown to the King, 
to whom she also indited a letter, imploring his 
clemency for " ce jeune etourdi M. Bruce," " ce jeune 
homme egare par la sensibilite de son caractere, qui 
s'est entame dans une affaire aussi serieuse que 
delicate." She ends by reminding H.M. " que 1'enfant 

1816-1823] MAR ELIAS 183 

gate de Pitt joint a ses principes politiques le meme 
attachement pour votre personne," &c., &c. 

The only person to whom she sent a copy of this 
epistle was her cousin, the Marquess (afterwards 
Duke) of Buckingham, who appears to have been in 
her good graces ; (" Le Marquis," she writes, " quoique 
nous sommes toujours en dispute, est un nomme 
d'honneur "). 

Lady Hester to the Marquess of Buckingham 

" Here is a letter I have written to the King of 
France ; you will tell me that some Jacobin assisted 
me in writing it, but I can assure you I am alone in 
my convent, and have only consulted the Spirit of my 
Grandfather. ... I do nothing but weep over the 
destruction of the finest country in the world, and 
blush for my countrymen, who have been the cause of 
its ruin. ... I have told you I never can, never will, 
live in Europe, but that I shall come to see James and 
take my final leave of you all, if you give me the 
opportunity. . . . Scold me or not as you please, it 
will be quite the same thing ; nothing can change 
either my principles or my determinations. I have 
too good an opinion of the King's heart to suppose he 
can take ill what I have written ; if he does, I shall 
only be sorry that I have been mistaken, not sorry for 
what I have written. You are the only person I shall 
send a copy of this letter to, because, as you are his 
personal friend, he may mention it to you, and you 
have only to tell him that I am what I am, and that 
neither family nor friends can have the smallest influ- 
ence over me when I take a thing in my head, nor do 
I ever consult them upon any subject. James is a 
soldier, and must attend to his duty, so I shall not 
enter upon this subject with him in any way." 

She had good reason to believe that her political 
sentiments would be unpalatable to Louis XVIII. 

184 "AN AGE OF TERROR" [CH. v 

She was full of sympathy for Napoleon. At the time 
when every English heart was still aglow with the 
glories of Waterloo, all her letters (one in particular, 
addressed to Mr. Coutts, " the only remaining friend of 
my illustrious Grandfather ") are full of invectives 
against the Allies, " who have violated the laws of 
nations to the utmost, by deluging France with foreign 
troops, . . . and degrading and imprisoning a man 
acknowledged King by every Power in Europe." 
Here is her confession of faith in full : 

Lady Hester to the Marquess of Buckingham 


" April 22rf, 1816. 

" MY DEAR COUSIN, For years, in writing to you, I 
have been silent on politics ; but as it is probable this 
letter will reach you, I avail myself of this opportunity 
to give you my real opinions. 

" You cannot doubt that a woman of my character, 
and (I presume to say) of my understanding, must have 
held in contempt and aversion all the statesmen of the 
present day, whose unbounded ignorance and duplicity 
have brought ruin on France, have spread their own 
shame through all Europe, and have exposed them- 
selves, not only to the ridicule, but to the curses of 
present and future generations. One great mind, one 
single enlightened statesman, whose virtues had 
equalled his talents, was all that was wanting to effect, 
at this unexampled period, the welfare of all Europe, 
by taking advantage of events the most extraordinary 
that have ever occurred in any era. That moment is 
gone by ; an age of terror and perfidy has succeeded. 
Horrible events will take place, and those who find 
themselves farthest from the scenes which will be 
acted may consider themselves the most fortunate. 

11 Cease, therefore, to torment me ; I will not live in 
Europe, even were I, in flying from it, compelled to 

1816-1823] MAR ELIAS 185 

beg my bread. Once only will I go to France, to see 
you and James, but only that once. I will not be a 
martyr for nothing. The grand-daughter of Lord 
Chatham, the niece of the illustrious Pitt, feels herself 
blush, as she writes, that she was born in England 
that England who has made her accursed gold the 
counterpoise to justice ; that England who puts weep- 
ing humanity in irons, who has employed the valour of 
her troops, destined for the defence of her national 
honour, as the instrument to enslave a freeborn people ; 
and who has exposed to ridicule and humiliation a 
monarch who might have gained the goodwill of his 
subjects, if those intriguing English had left him to 
stand or fall upon his own merits. 

" What must be, if he reflects, the feelings of that 
monarch's mind ? But it is possible that his soul is 
too pure to enable him to dive into the views of others, 
and to see that he has merely been their tool. May 
Heaven inspire him with the sentiments of Henry IV. 
(a name too often profaned), who would have trod the 
crown under his feet rather than have received it upon 
the conditions with which your friend has accepted it ! 

" You will tell me that the French army the bravest 
troops in the world, they who have made more sacrifices 
to their national honour than any others would not 
listen to the voice of reason ; and you think I shall 
believe you. Never ! If an individual, poor and 
humble like myself, knows how to make an impression 
(as I have done) upon thousands of wild Arabs, without 
even bearing the name of chieftain, by yielding some- 
what to their prejudices, and by inspiring confidence 
in my integrity and sincerity, could not a king a 
legitimate king guide that army, to which he owed 
the preservation of his power, to a just appreciation of 
their duty ? Without doubt he could, and would have 


done, too, if he had been left free to act. What was to 
be expected from men, naturally incensed at the inter- 
ference of those who, for twenty-five years, were held 
up to their minds as their bitterest enemies, but that 
which has happened ? In a word, never did tyrant, 
ancient or modern, act so entirely against the interests 
of humanity as those insensate dolts of our day, who 
have violated the holy rights of peace, and have broken 
the ties which, under any circumstances, should connect 
man and man. 

" And pray consider all I say as the real expression 
of my thoughts. Oh ! if I said all I feel, I could fill a 
volume ! but just now I am not very well in health, 
and to take a pen in hand confuses my head, as it has 
done ever since my attack of plague at Latakia. I 
have, therefore, begged the Doctor to write this for me. 

" You and James must let me know if you can come 
and meet me in Provence, for to Paris I will not go. 
The sight of those odious Ministers of ours, running 
about to do mischief, would be too disgusting. You 
may make faces or not I care not a farthing ; for there 
is no soul on earth who ever had, or ever will have, 
any influence on my thoughts or my actions. 

" Adieu, my dear cousin. Be as proud and as angry 
as you please at my politics, but you will never change 
them ; do not, however, on that account, cease to love 

me, or forget 

" Your ever affectionate 

" H. L. S." 

I will freely own that all this is incomprehensible to 
me. I cannot understand how " the niece of the 
illustrious Pitt," who professed the same principles, 
and had been with him during the anxious years that 
witnessed the subjugation of Europe by Napoleon, and 
the threatened invasion of our own shores, could ever 
have dictated this singular rhapsody. According to 

1816-1823] MR. SILK BUCKINGHAM 187 

her, the grand victory that heralded thirty blessed 
years of peace only inaugurated " an age of terror and 
perfidy," with " horrible events " in prospect! 

About this time two English guests arrived at Mar 
Elias. One of them, Mr. William Bankes (afterwards 
M.P. for Cambridge University), was a casual visitor, 
then engaged on a tour in the Levant ; but the other, 
Miss Williams, was an old friend, who came to stay. 
She was the lady's-maid who had come out from 
England with Lady Hester in 1810, and been left with 
a married sister at Malta. She now wished to offer 
her services to her former kind mistress, thinking she 
might stand in need of them, and Lady Hester was 
greatly touched and pleased by this proof of devotion. 
Miss Williams never left her again. 

Mr. Bankes was very anxious to go to Palmyra, and 
Lady Hester gave him a letter of introduction to the 
King of the Desert. To prevent strangers from making 
use of her name, she had agreed with the Emir and his 
son Nasar that no one should be received as her friend 
who was not furnished with credentials. " If there 
comes to me," she said, " a great man, on whom I can 
rely, and whose word you can trust as my own, who 
wants to live among you, to see your mock fights, or a 
camel killed and eaten, to ride on a dromedary in his 
housings, &c., I will send him with two seals ; but if it 
be another sort of person, I will send him with one." 
Unfortunately, she had told this to Mr. Bankes, who, 
curious to see how many seals she had judged him 
worthy of, took an opportunity of opening her letter 
on the road. There was only one ! He threw it 
indignantly away, and resolved to dispense with her 
patronage altogether. But he little foresaw the difficul- 
ties he was throwing in the way of his journey. Once 
he was turned back, once imprisoned, and finally 
mulcted of a very considerable sum of money. 

Soon after his departure, there arrived at Mar Elias 
a fellow-traveller of his, Mr. Silk Buckingham, who 
published an account of his visit in 1825 (Travels among 
the Arab Tribes inhabiting the countries East of Syria and 
Palestine). He speaks very gratefully of Lady Hester's 
great kindness. " I had the good fortune and happiness 
to remain under the hospitable roof of this distinguished 
lady for a period of nine days, during which I received 
the greatest possible kindness from every one in her 


service, as well as from her Ladyship's own hands." 
He arrived " in a state of extreme illness and exhaus- 
tion," and was restored to " freshness and vigour " by 
his stay. He kept no notes, and describes Mar Elias 
only from recollection. 

" The convent stands on the brow of a hill, looking 
towards the sea, the whole of the way from it to the 
town of Seyda being on a descent for a distance of 
about five or six miles. It consists of a number of 
separate rooms in a quadrangular building that sur- 
rounds an inner court, made into a flower garden, into 
which the doors of all these rooms open. The rooms 
are neither spacious nor elegant ; but, most of them 
being furnished after the English manner, with carpets, 
tables, chairs, &c., offered an agreeable contrast to the 
rooms generally seen in the East, the whole furniture 
of which consists of a low range of cushions and 
pillows surrounding the skirting, and, as it were, 
fringing the junction between the wall and the floor. 
Nothing in the house appeared unnecessary or 
expensive ; but all that could conduce to comfort, and 
that was procurable in the country, was seen in clean 
and unostentatious simplicity. The proper number 
of out-offices, kitchen, stables, &c., were attached to 
the edifice ; and there were spare rooms and beds 
enough to accommodate any small party of travellers 
that might have occasion to remain here for a short 
period in the course of their journey. 

" The domestic establishment of her Ladyship con- 
sisted, at this period, of an English physician, Dr. 
Meryon, who lived in a separate house at a distance of 
less than a mile ; an English attendant, Miss Williams, 
and an English housekeeper, Mrs. Fry; a Levantine 
secretary, of French descent, from Aleppo; and a 
small number of male and female servants of the 

1816-1823] LADY HESTER'S MODE OF LIFE 189 

country. The fondness for beautiful horses, which 
this lady passionately entertained, was judiciously, 
but not ostentatiously, enjoyed by the possession of a 
small stud of Arabs. . . . 

" Lady Hester rose generally about eight ; walked 
in the flower-garden, or read, till ten ; breakfasted on 
tea and coffee in the English manner ; so much so, 
indeed, that there was no distinction between her 
breakfast table and one in England, except that finer 
and fresher fruit were often produced there than it is 
usual to see in London. An extensive correspondence, 
which her Ladyship appeared to maintain with persons 
of distinction in all parts of Europe, and even in India, 
generally occupied her pen, or that of her secretary, 
who wrote from dictation for several hours in the middle 
of the day. . . . But with all this, a want of leisure was 
never pleaded in excuse for attending to any applica- 
tions for relief that were perpetually made, from what- 
ever quarter they might have come. A walk, or a 
ride on horseback, was generally indulged in before 
dinner, which was always served soon after sunset, 
and was a happy medium between frugality and 
abundance, such as a prince might partake, and yet 
such as the most temperate could not complain of. 
The evening was almost invariably passed in con- 
versation, and so powerful is my recollection, even at 
this distant period, of the pleasure this afforded me, 
that I could use no terms which would be too extra- 
vagant in its praise. The early association with men 
eminent for their talents, as well as their power ; the 
habit of intense observation on all passing events ; the 
abundant opportunities, afforded by years of travel, 
to apply these habits to the utmost advantage ; all 
these, added to a remarkable union of frankness and 
dignity, gave a peculiar charm to the conversations of 


this highly accomplished and amiable woman. . . . 
We seldom retired before midnight. . . . 

" In person, Lady Hester Stanhope is rather above 
the usual height, with regular and delicately formed 
features, a soft blue eye, fair and pale complexion, an 
expression of habitual pensiveness and tranquil resig- 
nation, which was rarely disturbed, except when her 
countenance now and then lighted up with the indig- 
nant feelings that always followed the recital of some 
deed of cruelty and oppression. . . . 

" If to be sincerely and generally beloved by those 
among whom we reside, to possess power and influ- 
ence with those who govern, and to have abundant 
opportunities .of exercising these for the weak and 
helpless, be sources of delight, it may be safely con- 
cluded that Lady Hester Stanhope is one of the 
happiest of human beings. The veneration in which 
she is held, the affectionate terms in which she is 
continually spoken of by those who live near and sur- 
round her habitation, surpasses anything I remember 
to have met with in the course of a tolerably extensive 
peregrination through various countries of the globe. 
Coupled, indeed, with the humble gratitude, confined 
information, and general enthusiasm of feeling, which 
characterize the inhabitants of that country, it amounts 
almost to adoration ; so that the real good which this 
lady does, and the undoubted respect paid to her by 
all classes, have been magnified by every successive 
narrator through whom the recital has passed, till it 
has at last assumed the shape of the miraculous, and 
surpassed even the extravagance of the Arabian Tales. 
I remember some few instances of this, which I heard 
on my way from Damascus to Seyda. One Druse 
woman in the Lebanon, who recounted the tale to my 
muleteer as I lay ill on my carpet before the hearth, 

1816-1823] "THE KING'S DAUGHTER" 191 

said that when the King's daughter (Bint-el-Melek, and 
Bint-el-Sultan, the names by which Lady Hester 
was known in Syria) entered Damascus, all voices 
exclaimed, ' The city of Damascus, the great gate of 
pilgrimage, and the key to the tomb of the prophet, 
is taken from us ; her glory is fallen, her might cast 
down, and her people for ever subdued. An infidel 
has entered on horseback, and rebellion is subdued by 
her beauty.' When she visited the Pacha in his divan, 
and was shown the seat of honour on his right hand, 
every one except the Pacha stood up to receive her, and 
there went before her a messenger bearing presents 
of the most costly description, from all the distant 
countries of the Ind and the Sind " (India within and 
India beyond the Ganges), "with perfumes of the 
most delightful odour. But when these had been laid 
at the Pacha's feet, the fair infidel herself drew from 
beneath her robes a massive goblet of pure gold, 
sparkling with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, and 
filled to overflowing with the richest pearls, which 
were, however, rivalled in beauty by the snowy white- 
ness of her hand. Then, again, an Arab shepherd 
regretted his ill-fortune in not having accompanied 
the princess to Palmyra, ' as he understood that every 
one who had gone with her, as indeed every one who 
ever had anything to do with her, had been abund- 
antly prosperous since.' As soon as it was known in 
the desert that the princess intended to journey to 
Tadmor, all the tribes were in motion, war was 
changed to universal peace, and every sheick was 
eager to have the honour of leading the escort. 
Councils and assemblies were held at Horns and at 
Hamar, at Sham " (Damascus) " and at Hhaleb " 
(Aleppo) ; " messengers were sent in every direction, 
and nothing was neglected that might serve to make 


the way full of pleasure. When money was talked of, 
every one rejected it with indignation, and exclaimed, 
1 Shall we not serve the princess for honour? ' Every- 
thing being settled, the party set out, preceded by 
horsemen in front, with hedjeen " (dromedaries) " of 
observation on the right and left, and camels laden with 
provisions in the rear. As they passed along, the 
parched sands of the desert became verdant plains, 
the burning rocks became crystal streams, rich carpets 
of grass welcomed them at every place at which they 
halted for repose, and the trees under which they 
pitched their tents expanded twice their usual size 
to cover them with shade. When they reached the 
broken city, the princess was taken to the greatest of 
the palaces " (the Temple of the Sun), " and there gold 
and jewels were bound round her temples, and all the 
people did homage to her as Queen, by bowing their 
heads to the dust. On that day Tadmor was richer 
than Sham, and more peopled than Stamboul ; and if 
the princess had only remained it would soon have 
become the greatest of all the cities of the earth, for 
men were pouring into it from all quarters, horsemen 
and chiefs, merchants and munujemein " (astrologers), 
" the fame of her beauty and benevolence having 
reached to Bagdad and Ispahann, to Bokhara and 
Samarcand, and the greatest men of the East being 
desirous of beholding it for themselves. 

" When the period approached for my quitting Mar 
Elias, I felt extreme regret ; for I had scarcely ever 
before concentrated so much of highly intellectual 
pleasure in so short a space of time. . . . The stay had 
been productive of the highest advantages to me in 
every point of view. I had regained much of my former 
health and strength in a surprising manner . . . and I 
was now better prepared for my future journey than I 


had ever been before. I was comfortably furnished with 
clothes, an excellent horse, a trusty servant from Lady 
Hester's own suite, transferred to me by her request, 
and charged by her with a thousand injunctions as to 
care and attention to my wishes and safety on the 
road. I was accommodated with sufficient means to 
defray my expenses till I should reach Aleppo, and 
drawing authorised supplies from the Consul, Mr. 
Barker. ... I was entrusted with various presents 
from her Ladyship to the various Pachas and Gover- 
nors in my way, accompanied by letters of introduction 
to them, that I might offer these gifts in her name, 
and thus secure their protection and aid." 

Mr. Buckingham's description of Lady Hester, with 
her " soft blue eye " and pensive resignation, is very 
unlike all the other accounts we have of her, and does 
not seem to fit in with any preconceived ideas of her 
appearance. But as regards her boundless benevol- 
ence and reckless generosity, and the power and 
influence she exercised in the Lebanon, which almost 
amounted to sovereignty, it exactly tallies with all we 
know of her. The splendid myth of her fabulous 
wealth attracted applicants from far and near, and 
seemed to be borne out by her munificence, for none 
were ever sent empty away. She delighted in helping 
and giving, and it may be safely said no hand was 
ever stretched out to her in vain. Whoever was in 
trouble or distress be he whom he might had a sure 
claim on her sympathy and protection, and became 
her charge, sometimes for the rest of his life. 

Her power in the Mountain was already so fully 
recognised, that even the redoubtable Prince of the 
Desert, Mohanna-el-Fadel, sent to solicit her aid. 
His son, the Emir Nasar, had embroiled himself with 
the Pacha of Damascus, who vowed to have his life, 
if ever he could be caught ; and he supplicated " his 
dear sister, the Syt Hester," to intercede on his behalf. 
One of his chieftains, Abd-el-Rasak, presented himself 
at Mar Elias, bringing, with his letter, a colt as an 
offering. " It was a fine sight," writes Dr. Meryon, 



" to behold the Bedouins come and seek protection of 
a woman and a stranger." 

She had only recently made proof of the extent of 
her authority. Some time before, a French Colonel 
of Engineers, named Bontin, who had been sent by 
the Emperor on a mission to Syria, was made away 
with on the road between Hamar and Latakia. Lady 
Hester had warned him of the danger of crossing the 
Ansary Mountains, but he made light of her appre- 
hensions, and set out on his journey with only two 
Mahometan servants. The sale of his watch at 
Damascus first excited suspicion as to his fate, and 
Lady Hester forthwith despatched three emissaries on 
the track he was believed to have followed, and 
ascertained that he had, as she predicted, been robbed 
and murdered. She at once urged the French Consuls 
at the different towns along the coast to write to 
Constantinople and obtain orders for tracing and 
punishing the murderers without loss of time. Noth- 
ing, however, was done. The Ansary were a powerful 
and savage tribe, with whom no one cared to interfere. 
She then wrote herself to several of the European 
Ambassadors at the Porte, but still without effect, and 
at last bravely determined to take the matter into her 
own hands. She sent letters, both in Turkish and 
Arabic, to the Pachas of Aleppo, Damascus, Tripoli 
and Acre, asking each of them to contribute a certain 
number of troops with which to range the mountains 
of the Ansary, search for Colonel Bontin's remains, 
discover and punish his murderers, and get back the 
stolen property. " Her appeals were successful, 
and accomplished what all tne influence of all the 
Ambassadors could not have effected, what even the 
commands of the Grand Seignor himself could not 
have carried into execution a union and co-operation 
of elements the most discordant." Mustafa Aga 
Berber, the Governor of the district, who was in 
command of the expedition, sent her word that, as he 
was marching " at the Syt's bidding to do the Syt's 
business," and fight in her quarrel, it was only fitting 
that she should arm her champion, and Lady Hester 
accordingly presented him with a brace of pistols. 
She, too, directed the movements of the troops, as, 
from the knowledge of the locality she had gained 
through her messengers, she alone could do, and 


Mustafa carried fire and sword into the Ansary fast- 
nesses, burnt the villages of the murderers, sent their 
heads as trophies to Damascus, and recovered the 
whole of the stolen property. The fame of this 
exploit spread far and wide throughout Syria, and 
Lady Hester received the proud title of Protectress 
of the Unfortunate. Nor were the French themselves 
backward in acknowledging the debt they owed her 
for avenging their countryman. " Colonel Bontin 
received a most honourable reception from Lady 
Hester Stanhope" (I am quoting the Courrier Franfais 
of April 2Qth, 1830), "and, proud of her powerful pro- 
tection, he was on the point of succeeding in his enter- 
prise" (to explore Syria and penetrate into Arabia), 
"when he was assassinated in the neighbourhood ot 
Damascus by the Arabs, who sought to rob him of a 
bag of coins which he had in his possession. France 
knows how the murder of this illustrious traveller was 
avenged by her Ladyship, who caused his assassins 
to be decapitated and obtained the restitution of his 
baggage, which she effected purely by her personal 
influence and efforts." She duly received a vote ot 
thanks from the Chamber of Deputies, proposed, in an 
eloquent speech, by Count Delaborde. 

The chastised tribe, strange to say, bore no malice. 
They were the same wild Ansary Arabs by whom, 
several years before, Lady Hester had been adopted, 
and that she was in the habit of speaking of as her 
"family." They might well have sought to revenge 
the treatment they had received. Yet, in the autumn 
of this very year, not long after Mustafa Aga Berber's 
return, she went for two months to Antioch, where 
she found herself in the midst of them, and though she 
took up her abode in a secluded and unprotected 
cottage outside the town, she was never molested in 
the slightest degree. She explained to them that 
" she had indeed revenged the death of a Frenchman, 
of a man who was her country's enemy, because she 
knew that all just persons abhorred deeds committed 
against the defenceless in the dark deeds such as 
must be disowned by the brave and good every- 

Her journey to Antioch was undertaken partly to 
meet Mr. Barker and partly to get out of the way of 
the Princess of Wales, who had recently landed at 


Acre, and might, she thought, be expected at Sayda. 
She was particularly anxious not to come into contact 
with her ; but she left the doctor and Miss Williams 
at Mar Elias, with instructions to offer her due hos- 
pitality and every attention in their power. The Prin- 
cess, however, did not come. 

She had appointed this meeting with the Consul- 
General, in order to settle accounts with him. The 
following letter (undated), addressed to General Ander- 
son, evidently belongs to this period ; it is the first in 
which she alludes to the money troubles that hence- 
forward were to supersede politics in her correspond- 
ence. It is melancholy to remember that for twenty- 
three years all the remaining years of her life she 
was never again free from this haunting incubus of 
debt. She mentions that her brother, " that dear, 
generous creature," had lent her all his savings, 
amounting to 500. 

Lady Hester to General Anderson 

. . . "This soaring and active mind is no merit of 
mine. I was endowed with it, I suppose, for some 
purpose, and I should not, I imagine, be answering 
that for which I was created, were I to become a grub 
on the face of the earth, and make no exertion to be 
useful to my country and my friends. . . . You will 
be told that I have purchased the friendship of Turks 
a poids a" or; but I can assure you that until now I 
never made a present, excepting a gold snuff-box, that 
Lord Sligo gave me, to the late Pacha of Damascus, 
Seticlar or Sword-bearer to the Sultan, a man of the 
first rank, who had given me two fine horses and 
treated me with every sort of distinction ; and a pair 
of fine pistols to the commander of the troops sent 
against the Ansaries, to revenge the death of a 
European assassinated by them (see p. 194). Respect- 
ing presents, all I can say about them is, that it is a 
toll every one must pay in the East. Strangers may 
sometimes escape, as a man may by galloping through 


a turnpike gate, and get off by saying he was a 
foreigner, and did not know the customs, and had no 
money about him. But, resident in the country, these 
shuffles will not do. About four years ago, Bruce 
went to take leave of the Mohallim of a town where 
he had spent some time. The Governor treated him 
at first with great respect and politeness ; but, after 
les ceremonies dusage were over, he waved his hand, 
and his attendants disappeared. The Governor began 
his conversation to this effect : ' And so, young man, 
you make me no present ? ' ' No/ said Bruce, ' I have 
been shipwrecked, and I have nothing by me worth 
your acceptance.' ' Oh ! that is a fine excuse,' said the 
Mohallim; 'you have money, I suppose why, then, 
did you not send to Aleppo, and buy a few pieces of 
Aleppo stuff to present to me ? It is true I do not 
care for the value of your stuffs, nor do I wish for 
a present from interested motives. Had you given 
me one, I should have given you a horse three times 
its value, but I desire to be treated with respect, and 
not lowered in the eyes of those who surround me.' 
He then said that this conversation would serve as a 
lesson to Bruce, and, softening his tone, said some 
civil things, and there the visit ended ; but it required 
a vast deal of negotiation to set the matter right. 
I really believe that the general motive of almost all 
Turks, in making presents, is the idea that they are 
a mark of respect. ... To your son, in Eastern 
fashion, I should say : May his name rise among 
perfumes to Heaven, which may bless him." 

After her return to Mar Elias in November, she 
received a visit from M. Didot, a gentleman attached 
to the French Embassy at Constantinople, who was 
then travelling in Syria, and published an account of 
his interview in his Notes aun Voyage fait dans le 
Levant en 1816 et 1817. 

198 M. DIDOT [CH. v 

" I had previously presented to M. Baudin, a young 
Frenchman, the dragoman of Miladi Stanhope, the 
letter of introduction that Mr. Salt had been kind 
enough to give me to the new Queen of Palmyra, who 
invited me to dinner the day after my arrival, together 
with M. Desgranges. She then inhabited a former 
convent, which she has had repaired, about two 
leagues from Sayda, near the little village of Abra, 
lying at the foot of the first spurs of the Lebanon. 
After passing through some rooms inhabited by her 
suite and her servants, all of whom are Arabs, except 
one lady's-maid, we were ushered into a vast apart- 
ment, where we found two persons in Oriental dress 
seated on the divan. We saluted them in Arabic, but 
soon recognised Miladi Stanhope and our Consul at 
Tripoli, M. Regnault; the former by her smooth, 
beardless face, the latter by the hump on his back, 
ill-disguised by the long garments he occasionally 
wears. Miladi received me with affability and dis- 
coursed at great length on European politics, for that 
is the subject of conversation she prefers, and seems 
the best suited to the gravity of her disposition. She 
said she first began to wear the Oriental costume 
when, after a shipwreck at Rhodes in which she lost 
all her possessions, she found herself obliged to buy 
the dress of the country, and having learnt to appre- 
ciate its comfort and utility, she had ever since retained 
it, and would now feel very ill at ease in her European 
women's clothes if she were obliged to resume them. 
The death of her uncle Pitt deprived her of the 
influence she had obtained in London ; and her grief 
at the loss of her brother and of General Moore, whom 
she was to have married both killed in the same 
battle in Spain had inspired her with that profound 
disgust of the world which had so long retained her 

1816-1823] MOUNT LEBANON 199 

in the solitude of Mount Lebanon. She spoke of 
divers visits she had paid to Pachas, and showed me 
the costumes she had worn on these occasions, all of 
the richest possible description. She also explained 
to me the different postures to be assumed in the 
presence of great personages, which form part of the 
etiquette all Turks must rigorously observe, as the 
attitude, no less than the costume, betokens a man's 
position in life. 

" As soon as she arrived in Syria, Lady Stanhope 
sent for a Capidji Bachi with firmans from Constanti- 
nople, and proceeded, with a great train in attendance, 
to the neighbourhood of Ascalon and Caesarea, to 
search for treasure in a spot indicated by an old MS. 
They excavated the ground for a long time, but no 
treasure was discovered ; only two colossal statues, 
one of which, representing Bacchus, was very fine. 
She had them both broken up, in order, as she told 
me, that the Turks might not take it into their heads 
that she had induced the Porte to incur this expendi- 
ture for her own personal advantage ; and as this 
action was in conformity with their religious principles, 
she hoped thus to acquire greater influence over them. 
In fact, I afterwards heard from M. Bertrand, one of 
her dragomans, that she had at one time intended to 
found a new religion in these parts, by the union of 
Christianity and Mahometanism ; and that she also 
had some hopes of the Jews, because she thought the 
name of Esther, which she bore, would impress them ; 
but, having soon perceived the difficulties of such an 
enterprise, she promptly gave it up. 

" I asked her to give us an account of her journey to 
Palmyra, which I had heard much spoken of in the 
East; and she described, in great detail, and with a 
certain satisfaction, how she had made her entry, lance 


in hand, in her Oriental dress, followed by thirty 
camels, which had brought into the desert all that was 
choicest of European luxuries. She enumerated the 
many presents she had given to the sheicks, and told 
how she had, during three nights, illuminated the ruins 
of Palmyra, where she had herself crowned. I thought 
at the time that some Oriental exaggeration must have 
adorned this narrative, but I afterwards heard, from 
several persons who had accompanied her, that it was, 
in the main, perfectly correct ; and that, in this expedi- 
tion, she and Mr. Bruce spent nearly 30,000 piastres. 
Accordingly, she is called Queen of Palmyra, and the 
credit she obtained, aided by her money, gained her 
influence with the Pachas. It was, in a great measure, 
owing to her that the Porte determined to avenge the 
death of Colonel Bontin, with whom she was well 
acquainted, and who was assassinated only a few days 
after he left her house. By her urgent letters, and by 
her presents, she induced the sheicks to march against 
the rebellious tribes, and carried this war to a successful 
issue, thereby inspiring fear and consideration for the 
Franks, and giving them better security for travelling 
in the East. 

" Some heavy clouds, gathering on the Lebanon, 
warned us that we might be overtaken by a storm, and 
obliged us to leave Miladi sooner than we should have 
wished. She made us carry away with us, as a 
precaution, two abas, large cloaks of a striped material 
fabricated in the mountains, which we presently found 
of the greatest use." 

This was, as far as I can make out, the only visitor 
to whom Lady Hester ever mentioned her engagement 
to Sir John Moore. 

About this time, her emissary, Giorgio, arrived from 
England, laden with commissions, and bringing with 

1816-1823] DEPARTURE OF DR. MERYON 201 

him an English surgeon to replace Dr. Meryon, who 
finally took his leave in January, 1817. Here, then, we 
part company with the circumstantial journal of Lady 
Hester's sayings and doings that he kept during the 
seven years he was in her service, and virtually lose 
sight of her till 1830. Though she was a voluminous 
letter writer, from this time forward but little of her 
correspondence has been preserved. This is the last 
letter I can find addressed to General Oakes : 

Lady Hester to General Oakes 


"Jan. $M, 1817. 

" I was so happy at receiving your letter by Giorgio, 
for it was so long since I had heard from you, and 
never ceased to feel anxious about your health, as well 
as about all that interests you. This letter will be 
given to you by Dr. Meryon. He will have so much 
to tell you about me, and his travels in these parts, 
that I shall not allude to either one or the other subject. 

" As for that levity and inconsequence with which 
you reproach some of our young men, it is much to be 
lamented. Real wildness can scarcely be deemed a 
fault in youth, and most particularly in those who 
have no sort of restraint put upon their actions ; but 
neglect, trifling conduct, saying more than a person 
means, is quite another thing, and very contemptible 
in my opinion, which may be a severe one ; but if all 
these things are looked over and tolerated in young 
men who ought to set an example to society, what will 
the world come to at last? ... I am happy to hear 
that my old friend Sir David is well; pray always 
mention me to him when you have an opportunity, for 
I have a great respect for him, and am convinced 
that his unpopularity and singular conduct at one 
moment was a finesse, for which we ought all to thank 

202 DUKE OF YORK [CH. v 

Lady Hester to H.R.H. the Duke of York 


"January 1st, 1817. 

"SiR, Y.R.H. put a dangerous instrument into my 
hands when you were so kind as to give me the 
beautiful inkstand. The first use I make of a pen so 
valued by me must be to offer you my sincerest thanks 
for this generous mark of your recollection. As you 
mention, Sir, the perfumes being unknown in England, 
perhaps you might like to know why aloe wood is 
scarce. It comes from a mountain called Gebel El-Kaf, 
fifteen days south of Mecca. This mountain is covered 
with aloe trees, but it is so infested with the most 
ferocious wild beasts that no one dare ascend it, 
Therefore, the Arabs who live the nearest to it portion 
out bits of land at the foot of the mountain, and make 
dykes in it. When the tremendous storms take place, 
which often tear up trees by the roots, and always 
scatter their branches, the floods of rain bring down 
pieces of the aloe wood into these dykes. When the 
weather clears up, each Arab repairs to his spot of 
ground, to pick up that which may have fallen to his 
lot ; the wood is then buried for forty or fifty days, to 
improve its smell, which gives it that black, rotten 
appearance. The pilgrims bring it to Damascus, where 
the harems of the great men are constantly full of a 
cloud of its smoke. The very luxurious refresh the 
air with fountains of rose-water, which play from five 
to twenty-five feet high. 

" There are likewise other forests in the desert, 
thirty-five days distant, west of Mecca, where a vast 
quantity of gold dust is to be found ; but as there is no 
water except at two places upon the road, out of forty 
camels and forty men which set out every year from 
Mecca to collect this dust, seldom ten of each return. 

1816-1823] THE KING OF BUGS 203 

" If I said half what I feel about Y.R.H.'s goodness 
to James, I fear I should bore you, but I cannot 
altogether pass over the act of kindness you were 
pleased to announce to me. I believe, Sir, it is only 
in Arabic that one may say to a great man all one 
wishes to say without being impertinent ; therefore, 
as I cannot write in that language, I must reflect in 
silent gratitude upon all we owe you. I am, Sir, 

" Y.R.H.'s most attached and devoted servant, 


Lady Hester to Sir Joseph Banks 


" January yd, 1817. 

" DEAR SIR, I was really concerned to find by the 
letter Giorgio brought me last November that you 
were so much indisposed. I pray for your recovery 
as for a universal blessing to the friends of humanity 
and science. 

" I have written you many letters within these last 
two years, and sent no less than three boxes of the 
root you wished to have, of various ages and qualities, 
together with all the information I could pick up 
about it ; but I fear that some, if not all, these boxes 
have been lost, as well as the admirable honey of 
Mount Lebanon, which I thought you might like. 
The Turks eat a vast deal of honey, and consider it 
very wholesome, except in very hot weather, when 
they find it heating. It is pressing honey in England 
which makes it so bad, as the wax gets mixed with 
it ; this was allowed to run off of itself, and was quite 
pure in every respect. I must now give you an 
account of the King of Bugs for your amusement, 
which I got from the Abyssinians, who remain some 
time with me. There is a little animal, not unlike a 


worm with wings, which sucks flowers like a bee ; it 
lives underground, where it fabricates a sort of jar, 
quite round, the inside of which is varnished in the 
most beautiful manner ; this jar communicates with 
the surface of the earth by a tube about three or four 
feet long, and serves as a passage for the little animal 
to go up and down. In its house is found a liquor 
like green water, which is used by the Abyssinians 
as a sovereign remedy in almost all stomach com- 
plaints, and in other disorders. The entrance of the 
tube is only to be discovered by watching the jackals, 
which come at night and scratch up the ground, 
which makes this medicine scarce. I hoped to have, 
nevertheless, sent you a bottle, but the death of my 
female Abyssinian friend, and no caravan having come 
this year from that country, renders it uncertain 
whether or not I shall ever receive what she wrote 
for from her brother, who commands a province, and 
who is mentioned by Lord Valentia in his book. 
Enclosed is a paper which may be interesting to you ; 
it strikes me that the cow must have eaten of the 
leaves of the Harmodatele, which are excellent and 
tempting in their appearance when fresh, and which 
grow in small quantities in the neighbourhood of 
Damascus, for the Priest was affected, as well as 
Mon. 1'Eveque, exactly in the same way as a person 
who takes too large a quantity of the root, a violent 
sickness and internal heat. 

" Dr. Meryon (my late Physician) is not the least 
of a philosopher, so I have had no one to set me right, 
or assist me in my pursuits of any kind. I believe the 
Doctor can give you little more information about 
the natural curiosities of this part of the world, than 
if he never had visited it, except the cave near Palmyra, 
into which he crept upon all fours, and I did not. I 

1816-1823] ABYSSINIA 205 

am trying to raise you a tree from a sucker of what 
I am told is the real mandrake spoken of in the 
Scriptures, and for which there is no European name. 
There is a tradition in Mount Lebanon of the women 
being shut up during the time it was in flower; it 
produces no seed. I have a great deal more to say 
about the natural productions of Abyssinia, but as 
I have not yet quite given up the idea of receiving 
some specimens of the furs of different animals, and 
the seeds of several curious plants, I will put off for 
the present saying anything about them. The greatest 
fault I lhave to find in the Abyssinians is, their love 
for every sort of liquor which intoxicates, but they 
are a clever, courageous people, rather inclined to 
be idle, and very proud ; but with management might 
be made something of. The stagnation of trade in 
India, and in England, would render the civilization 
of Abyssinia, and the encouragement of commerce 
with that country, a very politic measure, for when 
old resources fail, we ought to discover new ones. 

" I was vastly happy in receiving a letter from 
General Grenville, in which he speaks favourably of 
his health As I think him about the best man in 
the world, I was more than distressed when I im- 
agined he was suffering from a serious illness. Dr. 
Meryon has a few seeds of the Cimach, or Kimach, tree, 
which perhaps you may not have in your hot-house. 
I got them from one of the Mamelukes of Djezza 
Pacha, who was brought up with the late Ali Pacha, 
who planted these trees at Acre. ... As for Sheick 
Ibrahim" (Burckhardt) " of whom I have spoken so 
often, I think the same of his talents as a traveller ; 
but the more I hear of him and know of him, the less 
will I think of his heart, as he is full of envy and 
malice, and very insincere. And as to your namesake 


William Bankes, 1 I cannot endure him, and I wish I 
could pass a bill for him, to be obliged to change a 
name which such a character can have no right to, if 
you have one at least. He told Napoleon he was 
your relation ; it is impossible." 

In April of this year, Lady Hester received the 
tidings of her father's death, and wrote to her brother, 
on his accession to the title, what he truly describes 
as " a most cruel and insulting letter." I should be 
sorry to reproduce it. I will only quote one passage, 
as it furnishes the sole explanation I have ever met 
with of their life-long breach. Her theme throughout 
is ingratitude " the ingratitude which you have shown 
to all your best friends. It was wishing to eradicate, 
if possible, from your character the seeds of that 
abominable vice (a vice unknown to wild beasts) that 
occasioned the rupture between us. Far be it from 
me ever to wish to be upon friendly terms with you, 
should you still persist in the perverse opinions 
which have lowered you in the eyes of those you most 
courted, and deprived you of their real confidence." 
This, and another allusion to "new-formed connec- 
tions," points to political differences between them, 
but the chief ground of offence was probably a more 
personal one. She had, early in life, rendered him a 
signal service by effecting his escape from Chevening, 
for which he was abundantly thankful, and this sense 
of obligation, as well as that of his utter inexperience, 
led him gratefully to accept her guidance and dictation. 
But this kind of tutelage could not possibly last. As 
he took his place in the world, he naturally formed 
his own opinions, and acted upon them, and she 
probably often found her advice disregarded. She 
would bitterly resent this neglect, for, of all things in 

1 May 28th, 1820. "Mr. Bankes had seen Lady Hester Stanhope 
in Syria ; she was living in a small but comfortable house, at the foot 
of Mount Lebanon, in full persuasion of her being one day called to 
the assembling of God's chosen people, as Queen of Jerusalem. This 
fancy, which has taken full possession of her mind, arose (as she 
herself relates) from a prophecy which the famous Brothers made to 
her many years ago, that she would pass some years in the East and 
reign at Jerusalem. She has already exceeded the probationary 
terms by two years." Memoirs of Viscotint Stratford de Redclijfle. 

1816-1823] DJOUN, MOUNT LEBANON 207 

the world, she most delighted in giving advice. Even 
in this letter, after three angry pages of taunts and 
reproaches, there follows a fourth full of good advice, 
showing how easily he may become "a father to those 
around him, and a pillar of the State." But the real 
reason of her writing appears in the postscript : " I 
shall not leave any part 01 the sum coming to me on 
the estate ; when ready, you will please to place the 
whole in Coutts' hands. Murray" (her lawyer) "and 
James will inform you what is to be done with the 
10,000 poor Charles left me." 1 

These two sums ought surely to have cleared off 
all Lady Hester's liabilities, and left her a free woman. 
But it was not to be, for we presently find her 
plunging into fresh expenditure. Either in this or 
the following year, she removed from Mar Elias to 
another deserted monastery higher up in the moun- 
tains, near the village of Dar Joun, or Djoun. No 
lovelier situation could have been selected for a 
dwelling; but the building was disused and dilapidated, 
requiring a new roof and very extensive repairs. 2 
She built many new additions, very considerably 
enlarging it, and laid out, on what had been a bare 
mountain top, terraced gardens and orchards, to 
which water was conveyed by conduits from a dis- 
tance. The whole was surrounded by a lofty wall, 
giving it somewhat the appearance of a fortress, and 
the principal entrance was through a strong and well- 
guarded gate. Nor was it easy to go in and come 
out unperceived, for the interior was a kind of 
labyrinth composed of detached buildings, irregularly 
grouped round little courts and gardens, and traversed 
by trellised passages, which formed the only means 
of communication. Dr. Meryon tells us that " owing 
to the different enclosures, wherein servants with 

1 This letter remained, I believe, unanswered, and Lady Hester 
never wrote again. 

1 " You may imagine," she writes to the doctor, " what my expenses 
have been when I tell you that half of this house" (Djoun) "was 
totally unroofed, like a ruin, when I took it ; the other half so 
rotten that it rained in in every direction not a room for dragomen, 
for men servants, for provisions of any kind ; not an out-house ; 
not a place walled in ; its only merit was having a little space, 
which the other house" (Mar Elias) "had not ; the roof of which, 
after the earthquake, became so unsafe that I was obliged to cover 
it at a great expense," 


different occupations lived, a person attempting to 
enter or to escape was certain oi being seen, and 
almost equally certain of being stopped." Lady 
Hester's own dwelling was on the S.W. side, where 
the mountain falls away precipitously, and the distant 
blue of the sea is seen through a gap in the hills. 
Her rooms opened on the terraces of her private 
garden, the beautiful garden with its arbours, marble 
fountain, and thickets of roses, in which she took her 
daily walk. She loved her flowers, and they were the 
only luxury she permitted herself, for nothing could 
be plainer and simpler than her manner of life. No 
one entered here but by her special favour, and 
everything pertaining to herself was kept rigidly 
apart from the rest her kitchen, even, was separate. 

She intended this place to be, as it actually became, 
a house of call for refugees, for any poor homeless 
wanderer who, proscribed and pursued, might be 
drifting helplessly about in the Lebanon. To them 
she could offer an inviolable asylum, for whoever 
crossed her threshold had set foot in sanctuary. Not 
even the powerful Prince of the Mountain not Ibra- 
him Pacha himself ever ventured or rather, I should 
say, succeeded in meddling with any one under Lady 
Hester's protection. For this purpose Mar Elias 
would have been far too small, but at Djoun she was 
able at one time (after the siege of Acre) to harbour 
as many as two hundred refugees. Yet, for some 
reason or other, her doctor was never lodged within 
its precincts. 

Once installed in her new dominion, Lady Hester 
never left it again. She lived for more than twenty 
years at Djoun, and during the latter part of the time 
never went outside her garden wall. It is from this 
period we may date her complete adoption of Eastern 
customs and an Eastern mode of life. Though she 
had assumed the dress of the country, and conformed 
to many of its habits, she had still retained some of 
her own ; but these she now gradually discarded, 
and day by day became more of an Oriental. The 
doctor brought out by Giorgio went home again in 
a year or two, disliking the East and Eastern ways, 
and Doctor Meryon was summoned back to resume 
his former post. This time, however, his stay was 
brief, and he did not journalize. " I found," he says, 

1816-1823] DJOUN 209 

"that her Ladyship had in the meantime completely 
familiarized herselt with the usages of the East, con- 
ducting her establishment entirely in the Turkish 
manner, and adopting even much of their medical 
empiricism. Under these circumstances, and at her 
own suggestion, I again bade her adieu, as I then 
believed, for the last time." l He was replaced by an 
Italian. The English housekeeper, Mrs. Fry, also 
went home, and Elizabeth Williams now remained 
her sole English attendant. 

For some time past, Lady Hester's mind had been 
much occupied with the Oriental kingdom that had 
been promised to her many years before in England. 
When Brothers was, by Mr. Pitt's orders, being taken 
to prison as a fortune-teller, he begged hard to be 
allowed to see Lady Hester, and told her that "she 
would one day go to Jerusalem, and lead back the 
chosen people ; that, on her arrival in the Holy Land, 
mighty changes would take place in the world, and 
that she would pass seven years in the desert." She 
had always remembered this prediction, and often 
spoke of it, though more often than not in jest, and 
freely allowed her friends to make fun of it. While 
she was living at Brusa, the party she was with, 
comprising Lord Guilford, Mr. Fazakerley, and Mr. 
Gaily Knight, used to amuse themselves by calling 
her " Queen Hester ! Hester, Queen of the Jews ! " 
But since her arrival in Syria the prophecy had as- 
sumed graver proportions, for it had been twice re- 
peated. She had met at Haifa a half-crazed Frenchman, 
who called himself General Loustaneau, and professed 
to have served in the native Indian armies. He lived 
on the alms of the charitable, and passed himself 
off as a prophet, always walking about with a Bible 
under his arm. He was now ready to produce a 
number of texts to prove that her coming had been 

1 He did, however, return twice ; once for a few months in 1830 
and again in 1837, remaining till 1838. It was only on these last 
two occasions, when she had attained a certain degree of celebrity, 
that he adopted the practice unprecedented, as I hope and believe, 
in the case of a physician of writing down all she said to him with 
a view to publication. He spent in all sixteen months at Djoun, and 
it was from the materials then collected that he compiled the three 
volumes of Memoirs that appeared in 1845. The Travels of Lady 
Htster Stanhope, also in three volumes, were published in the fol- 
lowing year. 


announced in the Scriptures, and that she was " the 
only real Queen." Again, one of her servants, an old 
man named Metta, 1 who, like all Syrians, had a pro- 
found belief in astrology, magic, and what is now 
called Spiritualism, told her of a prophetic book of 
which he alone knew the secret, and could produce, 
if she would lend him a horse. She did so, and he 
went and fetched an Arabic MS. (a precious loan he 
was only to retain for a few hours), from which 
he translated the following passage for her benefit : 
" A European woman will come and live on Mount 
Lebanon at a certain epoch. She will build a house 
there, and obtain power and influence greater than 
a Sultan's. A boy without a father will join her, 
and his destiny will be fulfilled under her wing. The 
coming of the Mahdi will follow, but be preceded by 
war, pestilence, and other calamities. The Mahdi 
will ride a horse born saddled ; and a woman will 
come from a far country to partake in the mission." 

It was curious that the words of an English fortune- 
teller should be confirmed by two utter strangers in 
another quarter of the globe ; and the coincidence 
made a profound impression on Lady Hester. It 
seemed to her to place the matter in a new light, and 
hold out fascinating possibilities. She had become 
an Oriental in more senses than one, and now began 
seriously to ask herself whether, after all, the pro- 
phecy might not come true. Part of it, at least, had 
been accomplished. She had come to her appointed 
kingdom, had taken up her abode there, and obtained 
a degree of power and influence so unprecedented 
as to be little short of miraculous. Had she not been 
crowned already as Queen of Palmyra ? Might she 
not be called upon to play a great part in the 

1 I should mention that Lady Hester provided for both these 
prophets. Metta, on his death,-bed, bequeathed to her his three 
sons ; and she duly took charge of them. The General subsisted 
on her bounty for the remainder of his life, which proved a very long 
one. They never met, for they could never agree ; the prophet was 
dogmatic and choleric, Lady Hester intolerant of contradiction ; so 
she wisely judged it best they should remain apart. Yet not only 
did she support him, but in her lavish generosity she even sent 
money to h>s family in France ; and in 1825 one of his sons came to 
Djoun, and there died of fever. She caused him to be buried in a 
vault she had constructed in the garden for her own burial-place. 

1816-1823] A DREAMER OF DREAMS 211 

The love of rule had come to her almost in her 
cradle ; even in the nursery she had acted " the 
Empress Queen " ; and now, grown and strengthened 
with advancing years, it had become an absorbing 
passion. She had, as 1 have said, unbounded con- 
fidence in her own powers ; and it must be owned 
that she had displayed a rare aptitude for government 
in her management of the half-civilized, credulous, 
and emotional people with whom she had to deal. 
Besides the splendid courage that won their respect 
and admiration, and her father's iron will, she had 
a great deal of tact and discernment, and knew, as 
she said, how to "feel her ground." She studied 
their character, their prejudices, and their supersti- 
tions, and soon discovered how wide-spread and deep- 
rooted was the belief in supernatural agencies. She 
was quick to perceive what a formidable weapon was 
here ready made to her hand, and prompt in taking 
advantage of it. 

She had herself ceased to regard the supernatural 
from a Western point of view. She was studying 
astrology and the occult sciences ; seeking out der- 
vishes, magicians, and " wise men " to be her teachers, 
and diligently at work to take her degree among them. 
She so far succeeded as to become an adept in reading 
the stars, a discerner of the thoughts and minds of 
men, and a dreamer of dreams. 

How far, in the first instance, she actually believed 
in her mission as the inspired Queen of Jerusalem is, 
1 think, doubtful. She was, for so clever a woman, 
extraordinarily credulous, with a natural leaning to 
the marvellous and mysterious, which had always 
more or less attracted her. On the other hand, we 
cannot ignore the keen delight she had formerly taken 
in mystifying and humbugging others. Perhaps the 
truth is midway, and that she only partly persuaded 
herself to believe. Be this as it may, as time went on, 
she was unmistakably and vehemently in earnest; 
though, even then, doubts and misgivings seem to 
have not unfrequently crossed her mind. " 1 fancied," 
writes Kinglake, "that 1 could distinguish the brief 
moments during which she contrived to believe in 
herself, from those long and less happy intervals in 
which her own reason was too strong for her." 
It will be remembered that the Arabic MS. intro- 


duced a new factor in the prophecy, the Mahdi or 
Messiah. It was now he, and not Lady Hester, who 
was to lead the chosen people to Jerusalem ; but she 
was to have the place of honour on his right hand 
in the triumphal procession. As Queen of Jerusalem, 
she was bound to believe that the Messiah was yet 
to come ; and she got over this difficulty by wresting 
the words of John the Baptist, " There cometh One 
after me," from their true meaning, and ignoring their 
application to Our Lord. Yet she certainly told 
Lamartine that she was a Christian. Here, however, 
I am approaching ground on which I cannot venture 
to tread, for the subject of her religious opinions is 
one that is utterly and hopelessly out of my reach. 
I often wonder whether she could have explained 
them herself; at all events, she never succeeded in 
making them clear to any of her visitors. Perhaps 
M. de Lamartine's conclusion is the most probable, 
that they were a combination of the Christian, Jewish, 
and Mahometan creeds. She was, in truth, full of 
contradictions. She was a fatalist of the true Eastern 
type, yet full of Western zeal for setting matters right, 
and ordering them anew ; as relentless in her enmities 
as an Old Testament Jew, yet with all a Christian's 
love and pity for the poor and unfortunate. What- 
ever her religion may have been, she was its ap- 
pointed High Priestess; as to that, at least, there 
could be no misunderstanding ; and at the time ap- 
pointed, her sovereignty would be proclaimed to the 
world. She lived in constant expectation of the 
" pestilence, wars, and other calamities " that were 
to herald its coming and pave the way to her kingdom. 
The plague came came actually to herself; war broke 
out in the Lebanon, bringing with it a whole train 
of calamities, and still she hoped and waited waited 
on patiently, year after year, in sickness and poverty, 
for an ever-receding phantom the day of glory and 
triumph that was never to be hers. Her errors and 
her presumption may have been great, but it cannot, 
I think, be denied that the picture is a pitiable and 
pathetic one. 

I met with an account of her of about this date in 
the Memoirs of a Babylonian Princess, published in 
1844. This so-called princess a native of Bagdad 
was an inmate of the Emir Beshyr's harem, and went 


to visit a venerable Druse, whom she found enter- 
taining another guest. 1 

" Reclining by his side with crossed legs, a 
lOrientale, smoking a narghileh, was a tall and 
splendid figure, dressed in a long saffron coloured 
robe with red stripes, with an embroidered sadrieh 
fastened at the throat with a gold aigrette, whose 
appearance, though somewhat wan, was dignified and 
majestic. Although attired as a man, I at once dis- 
covered that it belonged to the other sex. Her right 
hand grasped her pipe, in the left she held a long 
rosary of amber, the beads of which she let fall, one 
by one, in slow succession. 

" On my entrance, the venerable Akal and the lady, 
whom I now perceived to be of extraordinary stature, 
rose to receive me, and after the usual compliments, 
I was invited to seat myself by their side. I per- 
ceived that the lady was scanning me from head to 
foot with a look of intense scrutiny. She then ad- 
dressed me, with great courtesy and benevolence of 
manner, in Arabic, which she spoke with great fluency, 
although I thought from her accent, as well as from 
her features and complexion, that she was not a 
native of the East. 'You,' said she, 'are from the 
land of the wise. It was in Chaldaea that science 
first dawned ; it was there that astronomy, astrology, 
and magic attained their highest perfection.' She 
then asked me if I was skilled in astrology. I replied 
that my father, being no great believer in the science, 
had discouraged my studying it. This appeared to 
cause her disappointment. ' I have devoted,' said 
she, ' much time to the study of the stars, and, I trust, 
not without profit. For instance, on looking atten- 

1 I have abbreviated her prolix narrative. 

214 FATALISM [CH. v 

lively at your countenance, whilst you were engaged 
in conversation with my venerable friend, I, without 
difficulty, made out the star under which your birth 
took place. It is sufficient for me to look attentively 
at the eyes and forehead of any person to tell with 
certainty the star of his nativity, and yours is the 
Nejmal-el-A tared' " (Mercury). " ' That is quite true,' 
said I. ' An astrologer in Chaldaea told me the same 
thing, and also the great astrologer in Damascus, 
called Suleiman the Hakim.' 

" ' I know him well,' said she, her countenance 
lighting up at finding her divination confirmed, ' and 
there lives not a man more deeply skilled in the 
divine art. We are all born under some of the 
celestial bodies, and our destiny is settled in this 
world by the benignant or malignant character of 
our star. This is our fate, and it is idle and useless 
to struggle against its resistless power. Whence 
comes it that man conceives a mortal antipathy to 
his fellow-man at first sight ? Because they were 
born under stars having opposing influences. The 
man born under the influence of the lamb will feel 
an insupportable repugnance and dread when brought 
in contact with one born under the sign of the tiger, 
and will seek to avoid him. This is the decree of 

" After some further conversation on astrology, I 
began to speak of my project of paying a visit to 
Europe, and the delight I anticipated on there be- 
holding the Christian virtues displayed in all their 
purity and splendour. At this the lady laughed 
outright, and clapping her hands after the Eastern 
fashion, said, 'You have been greatly imposed upon 
by some designing person. Europe, it is true, was 
once the home of Christianity and the school of 

1816-1823] DEGENERATE EUROPE 215 

Christian virtue, but that is now as a tale that is 
told a thing of the past. The sun of Europe is set, 
and in the hearts of her degenerate sons there re- 
mains not so much as a spark of the virtues of their 
forefathers. Piety and learning have been replaced 
by low cunning and intrigue, by self-seeking and 
hypocrisy. You will see nothing but degeneracy and 
corruption. Stay where you are, and you will at 
least see religion, untainted with schemes of self- 
interest or aggrandizement. I was both born and 
bred in Europe ; I have travelled much, and mixed 
in the society of most of the European communities, 
and I solemnly assure you, you will bitterly regret 
the day you quitted these peaceful mountains for 
the strife and turmoil of society in the West.' 

" A Druse scheik formed one of our party, who 
pretended he could divine the hiding-place of treasure 
concealed in the earth, and said he knew, at that very 
moment, of a hoard buried on the shore, near the 
place where, according to tradition, Jonas was cast 
ashore by the whale. I asked him how it came to 
pass that he had not turned this knowledge to his 
own advantage ? 

" ' The reason is plain,' said he, ' for it is well 
known that if the magician once turns his art to 
further his own ends, and increase his wealth, his 
power straightway leaves him, never to return.' 

"This, I thought, looked very like a poor subter- 
fuge to avoid being put to the proof. But the lady, 
who, I discovered, was also a firm believer in the 
magic art, said that the scheik was right, and that 
the magician was forbidden to use his arts for his 
own benefit. 

" Soon afterwards she rose, and bidding us farewell, 
took her departure, attended by a large retinue. A 


spirited charger stood at the gate, champing his bit 
with impatience. She put her foot in the stirrup, 
and vaulting nimbly in the saddle, which she, after 
the Oriental fashion, bestrode like a man, started off 
at a rapid pace, galloping over rock and mountain 
in advance of her suite with a fearlessness and 
address which would have done honour to a Mame- 

" I was extremely curious to know the name of this 
eccentric lady, and put the question to my host. 
'That,' said he, 'is Lady Hester Stanhope.'" 

After this first introduction they met pretty often. 
"The Queen of Tadmor," as Lady Hester was com- 
monly called by the Bedouin tribes, was on most 
friendly terms with the Emir Beshyr, and a constant 
visitor to his garden. In one part of this garden was 
a paddock, in which were kept the kehaitani, or horses 
of noble blood, whose genealogies, preserved with 
religious care, were said to extend in an unbroken 
line to the parent stock in the stables of King 

" Lady Hester, who was one of the boldest horse- 
women I ever saw, so much so as to excite the highest 
admiration of the Arabs, themselves the best horse- 
men in the world often riding fearlessly along ridges, 
and the steep and rocky sides of mountains, where 
every step seemed to threaten destruction frequently 
spent hours, smoking her narghileh, and admiring 
these beautiful steeds, which, to the number of fifty 
or more, stood, their forelegs chained to a spike 
driven into the ground, grazing before her. 

" Among them was a bay mare of extraordinary 
beauty, which the Emir Beshyr had purchased from 
a sheick for a large sum forty purses, as near as I 
remember. Seeing that Lady Hester had taken a 

1816-1823] THE "HORSE BORN SADDLED" 217 

particular fancy to this mare, the Emir made her a 
present of her, sending at the same time the sanad, 
or certificate of her descent on both sides, from a 
noble race, having all the qualities of the mares 
spoken of by the Prophet, whose 'teats shall be 
treasures, "and their backs thrones of honour.' 

"With her he sent a beautiful she ass" (Lady 
Hester sometimes drank ass's milk), " said to be a 
lineal descendant of the ass on which our Saviour 
rode on His entry to Jerusalem. (! !) 

"Some months afterwards, Lady Hester sent a 
messenger to inform us that the mare had given birth 
to a foal of great beauty, having on its back a remark- 
able excrescence, that formed a complete natural saddle 
of the Turkish form. There is a tradition in the East 
that at the Messiah's second coming He will come 
riding on a horse having a natural saddle on his back.'* 

Lady Hester announced this accordingly as a 
miracle, and declared "she would reserve the foal 
for the use of the Regenerator, whose coming she 
awaited, whereat the Emir, who by no means sym- 
pathised with this delusion, laughed outright." l 

The " horse born saddled " had now come into the 
world; but where was the "boy without a father"? 
He failed to put in an appearance, though Lady 
Hester expected him long and anxiously, and looked, 
it is said, for the coming of the Duke of Reichstadt ! 
The " woman from a far country " announced herself 
in 1835. (See p. 314.) 

Lady Hester had now broken off all intercourse 
with her own country. One after the other, she 
dropped her English correspondents, till at last she 
had ceased to write even to her favourite brother. 
The following letters are addressed to Viscount 
Strangford, our Ambassador at Constantinople, who 
was a stranger to her. She was then, for some 
reason or other, at daggers drawn with the English 

1 No dates are given ; but from internal evidence this must have 
been in 1820-22. 

2i8 A BLOOD-FEUD [CH. v 

Consul at Beyrout ; and it is characteristic that she 
points out to Lord Strangford a gentleman whom 
she considers far better fitted for the post. I may 
add that this hostility was, like a blood-feud, carried 
on to his successor, and seemed, in fact, to cling to 
every one who held the appointment. 

Lady Hester to Lord Strangford 


"March i2tA, 1823. 

" MY LORD, Your Lordship will undoubtedly hear 
of the violent disputes which have taken place at 
Beyrout between the Consuls. It is not my intention 
to state facts which I have an imperfect knowledge 
of, or to give my opinion upon them, but I beg your 
Lordship's permission to speak candidly upon the 
character of the persons concerned. . . . Since my 
residence in Syria I have ever avoided interfering 
with the intrigues of Consuls of any nation, and have 
never employed any of them to transact business for 
me further than, if by chance a box or letter has been 
directed to their care, they have simply forwarded it 
and received a receipt. I have avoided the society 
of all the Consuls on the coast. ... It often happens 
that those who pass their papers through Mr. Abbott's 
office (because of the flag they bear) have orders to 
consign their merchandise to Mr. Laurello. This has 
created a most violent jealousy on the part of the other 
Consuls and agents, and particularly in Mr. Abbott, 
in whose character it would be difficult to find one 
good point, except his attachment to Sir S. Smith. 
I consider Mr. Abbott and Yakoub Aga, the new 
Consul of Sayda (a disgraced Armenian Bishop), men 
of such disgraceful characters, that I fairly state to 
your Lordship that no situation, however disagreeable, 
I might be placed in in this country by unforeseen 
events, could oblige me to have any communication 

1816-1823] JOHN BULL 219 

with these sort of men. Mr. Aubin, who has been 
turned out of the French Agency, not knowing how 
to gain his bread or how to employ his time, dedicates 
it to intrigue ; and old Youssif Massad always takes 
the side which he thinks most to his advantage at the 
present moment. What I have said of these persons 
to your Lordship I am perfectly ready to say to their 
face, and a great deal more. My candour I hope will 
not have displeased you, as it has ever been my 
custom to use strong language, that I might not be 
misunderstood, without meaning the least disrespect 
towards the person addressed. Far be it from me to 
dictate to your Lordship, but I think I may feel assured, 
that were you fully aware of the state of the country 
and of existing circumstances, you would deem it proper 
to send a man like Mr. Hamilton, whose personal 
merit, as well as being known to enjoy your Lordship's 
confidence, would ensure him respect. . . . When I 
abuse Consuls, I must not forget to make an exception 
in favour of Mr. Barker, who is a very good sort of 
John Bull; it is well known, I believe, that I have no 
particular admiration for those who bear that title, as 
they in general partake of the heaviness of their 
atmosphere. Mr. Barker possesses in a high degree 
one of the necessary qualifications of a John Bull, 
that is, considering the person of a king like that of 
the Great Lama ; it is quite criminal to make any 
distinction, or make any comparison between upstarts 
and those who have reigned for centuries. Poor Mr. 
Barker, however, has suffered very much from earth- 
quakes, but has borne all his losses with cheerful 
resignation, and has tried to persuade me by a letter 
of eight pages that an earthquake is necessary to 
human happiness, being ordained by Providence to 
purify the air. I cannot agree with his philosophy 

220 "ODDS AND ENDS" [CH. v 

more than with his politics. There is only one point 
upon which we ever have agreed for these ten years 
past, and that was not finally settled till he paid a 
visit to England four years ago, that the scanty dishes 
upon an English board do not give one a distinct 
idea of Roast Beef hospitality, and must be particu- 
larly striking to persons used to be served in dishes 
which in other countries might be mistaken for 
washing tubs." 

This letter is endorsed " Odds and Ends " by the 
Ambassador, and was probably left unanswered, for 
on February 7th, 1824, she resumes the subject with 
fresh vehemence. 

" About twenty years ago I saw Mr. Abbott when 
he landed in England from a French prison, and when 
he came to this country I showed him that degree of 
civility which I thought etiquette towards an English- 
man established on the coast required. He was the 
bearer of a letter from Sir S. Smith a rhapsody of 
nonsense, which I did not choose to answer. I told 
Mr. Abbott, in my first interview with him, that I 
desired he would not communicate any of his plans 
to me (which he had expressed a wish to do), as I 
would neither give him opinion or advice upon any 
subject except that which concerned his household 
affairs, and when established at Beyrout, there I left 
him; but when he chose to give English protection 
to Yakoub Aga, a murderer and a thief, and to set 
him up Consul at Sayda, the most infamous woman 
in the country married to him by one of Mr. Abbott's 
clerks, his first wife still living, I acquainted Mr. 
Abbott verbally, by Michel Tolungi, that I wished him 
to abstain from any further intercourse with me, and 
that if any letters or boxes by accident fell into his 

1816-1823] BASTINADO 221 

hands, he would immediately deliver them over to 
Mr. Laurello at Beyrout, who has been my agent at 
that place for some years. Yakoub Aga expressed 
an intention to pay me a visit, and his wife expressed 
her intention to run away from her husband, to whom 
she had been given by force by Mr. Abbott (with the 
assistance of Turkish soldiers), and to seek protection 
under my roof. These two proposals I peremptorily 
refused, and declared I would not have the smallest 
connection with them, and that if they troubled me with 
any other messages I would bastinado the bearer ', which 
I did. . . . Whatever Mr. Abbott's powers may be, I 
shall resist them by force, nor shall any human force 
connect me with persons whose superiors in merit 
are to be found in Newgate. I am a stranger to your 
Lordship, but you may learn from those that know 
me that no power on earth can make me change a 
determination I have once made. When murder, 
theft, and falsehood are no longer crimes in the eyes 
of a Supreme Being, I may then, but not till then, 
speak more mildly of those that are their protectors. 
I never had any love for intrigue ; intrigue is the 
arms of the weak. I have no wish to meddle with 
Mr. Abbott or any other Consul, but I shall ever 
assert that they have no right to interfere with me, 
without I call upon them so to do; and I should be 
obliged to your Lordship to convey to me the know- 
ledge of what person or persons I am to address to, 
to prevent Mr. Abbott and his colleagues interfering 
with me or my .affairs during my life or after my 
demise. I am not a person likely to leave any money 
behind me, and whatever personal property I may 
possess in this country I have already bequeathed to 
Miss Williams ; and whatever provision my stores 
may contain at the time of my death may serve to feed 


the orphans in my house, and the blind and lame, 
which I protect, as long as they will last. These 
persons are subjects of the Sultan, and Mr. Abbott 
has nothing to do with them. . . . You must not fancy 
me, my Lord, in a fit of low spirits, on the contrary ; 
but as my death has lately been forestalled, both at 
Beyrout and at Sayda, in an indirect way, and the 
vengeance that shall be hurled upon my servants, I 
think it right to think of the poor creatures I may 
leave behind me ; of this foresight your Lordship can 
surely not disapprove, but as long as I have breath 
they have nothing to fear. My Lord, I might bow 
my head to an axe wielded by the hand of a manly 
tyrant, whose great qualities, from excess, had in the 
end become vices ; but as for a set of miserable 
reptiles, I shall ever set them at defiance, whatever 
risk I may run. ... If I have not the right to choose 
my own religion, I have again sinned by not allowing 
a set of missionaries to use my name in this country 
in the promulgation of a sort of bastard religion, which 
meets with the approbation of no religious sect what- 
ever. The imputation of vanity can only be attached 
to worldly concerns, therefore I trust your Lordship 
will not accuse me of this foible if I simply repeat the 
opinion given by the wisest men of the East, and some 
of them the most profound metaphysicians I have ever 
met with, ' that if I was capable of reading and calcu- 
lating in Oriental languages, I should exceed any of 
them in knowledge upon sublime subjects.' It is 
quite ludicrous that a set of pettifogging missionaries 
should come here to open the eyes of people whose 
shoes they are not worthy to untie, and before whom 
even one of the best French philosophers would 
appear like a quack doctor ; but it is needless for me 
to reason any more upon this subject, as the Pope 1 

1816-1823] MISHMOUSHY 223 

has ordered all their Bibles to be burnt. God willing, 
like Horace, I shall trim my vines, and contemplate 
the beauties of Nature in this solitary spot, until the 
veil of ignorance is withdrawn from the eyes of all 
judging men ; but I will not allow anybody to inter- 
fere with me, and I hope your Lordship will not 
allow it either. 1 ' 

Enclosed is a very angry note from Mr. Abbott in 
answer to a peremptory order she had sent him " in 
a sort of French," declaring that " his public duties 
are too well defined to need any comment " from her ; 
that " he is not conscious of eyer having entertained 
a wish to meddle with her affairs," and that it would 
be very desirable that she should be equally scrupulous 
in regard to his. 

Lady Hester to Lord Strangford 


(a small hamlet on the top of Lebanon), 
" October tfh, 1823. 

" That I should have received a letter from your 
Lordship, full of every honourable and good feeling, 
and not be able to answer it in my own handwriting, 
is truly mortifying to me. My health has been very 
indifferent for more than a year past, and 1 am now 
confined by illness to my bed, at a small hamlet on 
the top of Lebanon, which I fled to, to get rid of the 
intense heat, which this year has been intolerable 
towards the foot of the mountain. 

" Your Lordship will pardon me if I am rather 
prolix in my account of the business in question. . . . 

" Immediately after the Pacha had received his 
pardon, 1 arrived a horseman with a letter for me, and, 
although I cannot read Arabic, I instantly recognised 
the Pacha's own handwriting, and, therefore, that it 

1 This was Abdalla, Pacha of Acre, whose head the Sultan had 
twice demanded for treason and perfidy. He was pardoned through 
'.he intercession of the Emir Beshyr, on paying a fine of 3,000 purses. 


must be something of particular consequence. I had 
no person about me whom I could trust with the 
reading of this letter. I sent for an Effendi, a par- 
ticular friend of mine ; he is a man of integrity, and a 
man of the world, for he served in his youth some 
of the greatest Pachas in Syria. I gave him the letter. 
1 perceived he changed colour twenty times. He said, 
1 This is a beautifully-written letter, a statement of the 
Pacha's sufferings, of the Sultan's mercy towards him, 
and of his fervent wish to exactly fulfil all that had 
been promised for him ; he therefore requests of your 
friendship to send him a bill of exchange for one 
hundred purses.' I answered, ' 1 have not one 
farthing at Constantinople. I have closed my account 
with Mr. Sarell ; it is my future intention to draw 
money by the way of Malta, and I have written to 
England to that effect ; therefore, what can I do ? ' 
The Effendi replied, ' I do not wish to influence you, 
but have I the permission to tell you the truth ? ' I 
said, ' Certainly.' He said, ' Whatever you may say, 
I know it will only be considered an excuse, and you 
know best whether, under these extraordinary cir- 
cumstances (as it is the price of his blood which he is 
bound to pay), you like it to be considered that you 
gave a positive refusal.' I reflected that this probably 
came from his wife, the only surviving child of my 
old friend Soliman Pacha. Could I appear unfeeling 
to the darling of my dear old friend ? . . . I then 
began to consider what was to be done. ... As the 
Pacha promised in his letter to repay me in thirty-one 
days, it was my intention to send off the money, and 
trust to Mr. Sarell's liberality to make up the 
difference of the exchange between here and Con- 
stantinople, until I could repay him. Contented in 
my own mind with this arrangement, and believing 

1816-1823] MISHMOUSHY 225 

that I had done right in relieving the mind of that 
poor woman (as far as my little exertions could avail), 
who had gone through more unhappiness than it is 
possible to express, I sent off the Effendi to Acre to 
explain to the Pacha how I was situated, but having 
a sincere wish to serve him, I sent him a bill of 
exchange for sixty purses, more I could not send, 
relying upon Mr. Sarell's liberality with your Lord- 
ship's intercession." 

It seems, however, that Mr. Sarell did not 

" Behave like a gentleman. Now, my Lord," she 
continues, "have I done right or wrong? Which- 
ever I may have done, I have acted from the impulse 
of my nature, for the point of a sword resting on 
my heart would chill it much less than a cold face 
in misfortune. God knows I have seen too much of 
apathy in my progress through life. Day after day 
have I expected the Pacha to pay me the money, 
which he has not done, owing to the bad state of his 
finances, and hourly have I expected the letter of 
credit upon Malta ; but I have reason to believe that 
my letter on this subject has been lost. . . . The only 
concern I now feel in the business is the trouble I 
have occasioned your Lordship ; but had I not caused 
you this trouble, I should have been ignorant of the 
extent of the liberality of your nature and the kindness 
of your disposition, which have made a lasting im- 
pression on my mind. . . . Should your Lordship 
honour me with another letter, I hope you will have 
the goodness to direct it to the care of the Chevalier 
Laurello, Austrian Consul, who is my agent at 
Beyrout, for I cannot have any communication with 
Mr. Abbott, whom I consider as one of the most 
impudent, bombast, lying, unclean-handed fellows 

226 DR. WOLFF [CH. T 

that can be. It is a very good thing for him that I 
am not the Ambassador, for I should flog him within 
an inch of his life, if it should turn out that by his lies 
he had drawn from me a letter which, under the 
supposed circumstances, might be made use of to 
my disadvantage. I know the Turks very well ; they 
are very fins. The Government wish to see how 
many more lies he will tell, and when the budget of 
lies is finished, your Lordship will then hear the truth 
from them. I never have made the smallest shuffle 
with the Turks, either good or bad, and therefore 
have never had any trouble with them. When the 
country was all in confusion, I shared the fate of 
everybody else in being very uncomfortable ; but it 
arose more from general circumstances than from 
any personal conduct. 

" Before I conclude, I must beg leave to renew my 
thanks to your Lordship, and my excuses for the 
trouble I have caused you." 

One of the missionaries she attacks must have been 
the converted Jew, Dr. Wolff, with whom she had a 
fierce passage of arms. Here is his own account of it : 

" In the year 1823 I travelled with Captain the Hon. 
John Caradoc, now Lord Howden, from Jerusalem to 
Sayda, from which latter place, as being near to Lady 
Hester's residence, I forwarded to Miss Williams a 
letter from her sister, Mrs. David, which had been 
entrusted to me by that lady, and to which I added a 
note from myself, saying that I should be happy to 
forward her answer to her sister at Malta. One hour 
after, a letter arrived from Lady Hester herself, the 
contents of which were as follows : 

" ' I am astonished that an apostate should dare to 
thrust himself into notice in my family. Had you 

1816-1823] MISHMOUSHY 227 

been a learned Jew, you never would have abandoned 
a religion, rich in itself, although defective, to embrace 
the shadow of one. Light travels faster than sound ; 
therefore the Supreme Being could never have allowed 
His creatures to be left in utter darkness, until paid 
and speculating wanderers deem it proper to raise 
their venal voice to enlighten them. 


Dr. Wolff to Lady Hester 


"June, 1823. 

11 MADAM, I have just received a letter which bears 
your signature, but I doubt its being genuine, as I 
never wrote to your Ladyship, nor did I mention your 
name in my letter to Miss Williams. 

" With regard to my views and pursuits, they give 
me perfect tranquillity and happiness, and they must 
be quite immaterial to your Ladyship. 

" Your humble servant, 


The messenger declared that " the King of England's 
daughter had ordered him to be bastinadoed and kicked 
downstairs. There were no stairs at Djoun, but she 
may have had the man chastised. She had, 1 fear, 
adopted Eastern methods as well as Eastern habits. 



I HAVE given these letters consecutively, without a 
strict attention to dates ; for, correctly speaking, the 
following one to Dr. Meryon should have preceded the 
three last. 

It appears that, the year before, the doctor had 
offered to come back and resume his attendance upon 
her. He was now married, and had been endeavouring 
to establish a practice in London, in which he had not 
succeeded. It was urgent that he should obtain some 
employment, and in his difficulty he turned his 
thoughts to Djoun. Lady Hester, though she was, 
as she writes, " surprised at his offer, so often re- 
peated," was glad to accept it. Unfortunately, 
communication with Syria was a very slow process; 
letters were months on the road ; and while he was 
waiting to hear when she expected him, he received 
an eligible offer from a gentleman in England, which 
he unhesitatingly accepted. Consequently, when Lady 
Hester's letter arrived, directing him when to start, he 
was " placed in the painful dilemma" (I am quoting his 
own words) " of being obliged to apologize to her for 
not being able at that time to join her." She was 
naturally indignant at this breach of faith. 

Lady Hester to Dr. Meryon 

"July 30//4, 1823. 

" I shall not either scold or reproach you ; I only 
hope that the line you have taken will turn out in the 
end to your advantage. I confess I am sorry and 
mortified that, after having rendered me several 


1823-1830] DJOUN 229 

services, you are still in a situation so little inde- 
pendent. Were I inclined to be angry, it would be 
with . . .,* for, had he been like the chevaliers of former 
times, he would have said, ' Doctor, however it may 
be inconvenient for me to part with you at present, I 
so much respect your motives, and so much admire 
your fidelity, that so far from opposing, allow me to 
promote your views ; and I beg you will accept of 
this purse for your little wants. When you have 
finished with it, I trust you will consider me as your 
next friend ; and I flatter myself I may expect from 
you the same proofs of attachment.' But the world 
is spoilt ; no good feeling exists ; all is egotism. . . . 
I have no right to demand permanent sacrifices of 
you or others. The time will come when you will 
see with deep regret whether or not I have taken 
into consideration your interests, as well as my own 
personal convenience. I was surprised at your offer, 
so often repeated, and less surprised at your conduct, 
as a doubt often had occurred to my own mind, if 
temptations of any kind happened to be thrown in 
your way, whether or not you would have strength 
of mind to refuse present advantage and comfort. You 
have acted as you judged best, and as you thought 
circumstances authorized you to do ; but you never 
can persuade me that General Grenville, the soul of 
honour and feeling, could ever have recommended a 
man to break his word. Had you simply asked him, 
before you had made up your mind, ' Shall I keep my 
word and go, or accept of these offers ? Give me, I do 
entreat, your candid opinion,' I know what it would 
have been. But, having decided, what would you have 

1 The gentleman for whom he had thrown her over. The doctor, 
" in justice to this honourable individual," explains that he knew 
nothing of the pre-engagement to Lady Hester. Had he done so, he 
could scarcely have made his offer. 


him say? that I should be angry ? No ; he knew me 
too well not to be aware that no sacrifice, which I did 
not believe to be a voluntary one, could have any 
value in my estimation. 

" I cannot explain my feelings without seeming to 
praise myself. I make one rule for my own line of 
conduct, and one for that of others, and have two 
separate judgments ; I mean, one regulated by truth 
and feeling, and one after the fashion of what is 
thought right in the world. I never judge myself 
and those I really love by the latter. I wish them 
to be pure and high-minded, and to have confidence 
in God's mercy, if they act from true principle. But 
you worldly slaves of bon ton must not be tried by 
such a test. Mr. Murray was right ' She will not be 
angry,' no, because she thinks you all children ; I 
mean, the gay world, of which you now make a part. 

" I need not have said all this, but it is a hint as to 
the future, when the folly and uselessness of modern 
ideas and calculations will be at an end. I have been 
thought mad ridiculed and abused ; but it is out of 
the power of man to change my way of thinking upon 
any subject. Without a true faith, there can be no 
true system of action. All the learned of the East 
pronounce me to be an Ulema min Allah" (a heaven-born 
sage), " as I can neither write nor read " (Arabic) ; 
" but my reasoning is profound, according to the laws 
of Nature. 

" I shall say nothing of this part of the world, where 
I had lately announced your speedy arrival to my 
particular friends and to my family. 1 Your interest 
about matters here must now be at an end, and. it 
fatigues me so to write, that, without it is a case of 
absolute necessity, I must give it up. I have no 
1 The Arab tribe to which she was affiliated. 

1823-1830] DJOUN 231 

assistance. My two dragomans are low-minded, 
curious, vulgar men, in whom I can put no confidence. 
In short, they can only be called very bad, idle 
servants, having no one property of a gentleman 
belonging to them. 

" James's loss l the General's death all has afflicted 
me beyond description. I heard of James's affliction 
six months after. To write not to write no proper 
conveyance what to say after a year, perhaps, to 
open the wounds of his heart without being able to 
pour in one drop of the balm of consolation ! What I 
say would be vain. He considers me as a sort of poor 
mad woman, who has once loved him, therefore he is 
kind to me ; but as to my opinion having weight no ! 
To be considered as a sort of object is not flattering ; 
but so let it be. There is no remedy for it, or other 
evils, except in the hand of God, which, if He will 
stretch forward to save me, all may vanish ; if not, I 
shall vanish, for I am quite worn out. . . . Remember, 
I shall give no opinion about you to any one ; there- 
fore, do not fancy, if you see a change in persons' 
conduct, it comes from me. The world and fashionable 
loungers take up new favourites every day, and discard 
the old ones without reason. All are not General 
Grenvilles. No one so likely to be mortified at this 
as you. 

" Why do you not talk to me of James's poor little 
children ? and why not have asked to see them ? 
Have you forgotten how all about him interests me ? " 

The next year (1824) brought poor Lady Hester the 
only remaining gleam of good fortune that was hence- 
forward to fall to her lot. She found a friend her 

1 James Stanhope had married in 1820 Lady Frederica Murray, 
daughter of the Earl of Mansfield, who died after the birth of her 
second child in 1823. 

23 2 CAPTAIN YORKE, R.N. [CH. vi 

last friend, and one of the best and truest she ever 

In November, Captain Yorke (afterwards Earl of 
Hardwicke), who was cruising in the Levant in the 
Alacrity, cast anchor at Sayda, and sent to know if he 
could be of any service to her. She had now got out 
of the habit of receiving visitors, and admitted very 
few Englishmen least of all, but she had known 
some of the Yorkes in old times, and sent him the 
following note : 

" If Captain Yorke can leave his ship for a day, 
Lady Hester Stanhope will be happy to see him at her 
house at Djoun, and has ordered her dragoman at 
Seyd, Michael, to wait to accompany Captain Yorke. 
As the roads in this part of the country are very bad, 
Lady Hester has sent a mule down, which Captain 
Yorke may perhaps prefer to a horse." 

Captain Yorke accordingly came to Djoun, and 
wrote to his father this account of his visit : 


" Sunday Night, November 2%tk. 

" After leaving Beyrout, we next let go the anchor 
at Seida (Sidon), once so famed, and now a very 
tolerable Turkish town. . . . Here my attention was 
agreeably deviated from examining much of the town 
and its contents by the circumstance of my despatch- 
ing a civil line, with Captain Y.'s compliments, to 
Lady Hester Stanhope, offering my services in any 
way, to take letters, &c., to Malta, or elsewhere that 
I might be going. Lady Hester for some years has 
refused to see English people, therefore I had not a 
hope that she would give me an interview, and in 
my note I never hinted at it, but to my surprise, on 
the evening of my anchoring, her Armenian inter- 
preter came on board with a kind note, by which I 
found that a horse and escort were at Seida, waiting 

1823-1830] LADY HESTER'S HOUSE 233 

to conduct me, when I might please, to Djoun, her 
residence in Libanus, about three hours from Seida. 
Accordingly, on the following morning, with Luca, 
my Armenian interpreter, in company, we started for 
the residence of her Ladyship. The ride, uninterest- 
ing from any circumstance but that of actually being 
on Mount Lebanon, deserves no remark sterile, and 
but little cultivated in this part. Her residence is 
on an eminence, about ten miles from the sea, which 
it overlooks ; on the other side, it does not look into 
the bosom of the valley of Bishra, yet it is high 
enough to enjoy the beautiful verdure of the moun- 
tains rising on the opposite side, whose tops are the 
most lofty of Libanus. The air is pure, the scenery 
bold. On a hill, about a mile to the southward of 
her habitation, is a village which flourishes in the 
sunshine of her favour and protection. Her house 
is a neat building, a mixture of Oriental and English. 
From the entrance-gate a passage (on either side of 
which is a guard-room, and some apartments for 
soldiers and servants) (leads?) to a square yard, 
halfway across which is a terrace with three steps, 
round which terrace are the different apartments of 
servants, interpreters, as also spare rooms for visitors; 
on the left side of the terrace, under a lattice-work 
of wood, woven with roses and jasmine, I was ushered, 
and shown into a small apartment furnished in the 
Eastern style. The Chibouque and coffee were in- 
stantly brought by a French youth in the costume 
of a Mameluke, with compliments from Milady, 
begging I would refresh myself after my fatigue. 
On my ablutions being finished, I was sent for. 
Passing through several passages, I was shown into 
a room, rather dark, with a curtain drawn across, 
which on being a little withdrawn, I found myself in 


the presence of a Bedouin Arab chief, who soon 
turned out to be Lady Hester. She expressed great 
joy at seeing the son of one of the most honest 
families in England ; so she was pleased to express 
herself. She received me as an English lady of fashion 
would have done. I at once became delighted with 
her wit, her knowledge, and, I must say, her beauty, 
for she is still one of the finest specimens of a woman 
I ever saw. She spoke much of Uncle Charles. Her 
conversation animated beyond any person I ever met ; 
she was in great spirits ; her dress, which well became 
her gigantic person, very rich. I shall pass over our 
conversation, which was full of histories of marvels 
and wonders, manners and customs of the people, 
plague, pestilence and famine, &c., &c. I went back 
to the brig the following day, and returned in the 
afternoon to Djoun, taking with me Mr. Forrester, my 
surgeon, who she requested I would allow to arrange 
her medicines, which were in confusion and disorder. 
" In the evening she sent for me ; she smoked the 
Chibouque ; her mind was wrought to a high pitch of 
enthusiasm ; she talked wildly, and was much dis- 
tressed in mind ; in short, her intellects were much 
disordered, and it was very distressing. However, 
she arranged that I should next morning start for 
Der-il-Kamman, the capital of the Druses, with a 
letter to the Emir Beshir, the prince of that nation. I 
perceive that were I to begin a description, I should 
waste much good paper without stating anything 
that is new. The Druses are a most extraordinary 
people; the palace of the Emir superb; the country 
richly cultivated by the greatest labour, being all in 
ridges on the sides of the mountains ; but I shall 
refer you to Mr. Hope's ' Anastasius ' for a good 
description, and for all that is supposed, for nothing 


is known, of their religion. The Emir treated us with 
much kindness, and I stayed two days in his palace, 
where we had apartments ; visited him in the fore- 
noon, after which he did not interfere with our 
pleasure ; excellent living, about forty dishes served 
to about four people for dinner. On a visit to the 
Emir was the son of the Pacha of Damascus, who 
offered me to accompany him back to that city, 
where he said I should reside in the palace of his 
father, and see all that was to be seen. Such an 
offer almost tempted me to cut the Alacrity. I sup- 
pose a Christian hardly ever had such an opportunity, 
which he was obliged to lose. Lady Hester said it 
was my ' hijim,' or star, that got me into such favour. 
On the third morning we breakfasted at Der-il- 
Kamman, the town, about one mile distant from 
Petedeen (the palace), and returned to Djoun, arriving 
late that night. 

" She made me several presents, the most valuable 
of which I sent home to your charge by Euryalus. 
She has written to me once since. 

" I wrote a letter to Lord Chatham about her. As 
I know her family knew little or nothing about her, I 
in a manner found myself called on. 

" Much more I could write, but really just now my 
attention is so much called off by continual callings 
from Captain Hamilton, who sends for me on every 
occasion, that this despatch will be curtailed ; but I 
trust that more particulars will come viva voce." 

Captain Yorke to Lord Chatham 

"HM.S. Alacrity, 

"February 25^, 1825. 

" MY LORD, I take the liberty of addressing you 
on a subject of some interest to yourself ; and I trust 


in so doing I shall not be thought impertinent, as it 
arises from the best intentions, and from a real feeling 
of commiseration for her of whom I shall speak. 

" It is a short time since I left the coast of Syria, 
where I was most kindly invited to Djoun in Lebanon 
by its possessor, Lady Hester Stanhope, your relation. 
Particulars as to her mode of life you are well ac- 
quainted with, no doubt ; so of that 1 shall not speak, 
but of her distresses only, which, as far as I am 
able to judge, are fast undermining her mind and 
health. As she was open and frank to me, she made 
me understand that absolute want of money was a 
great source of uneasiness to her ; the house she now 
lives in belonging to a Turk in Constantinople, who 
threatens to turn her out when her lease was out, 
which was three months when I saw her, if she does 
not pay 500 for the entire purchase of the place. She 
had not the money, she told me. Another source of 
misery was the want of some good people about her, 
a steady man-servant and a maid ; she begins much to 
feel the want of these comforts, and I assure you they 
are absolutely necessary for her. She is very forlorn, 
and her mind has taken a very serious turn, much 
impaired, and full of magic and divination. Nothing 
will ever induce her to return to her native land ; in 
fact, it is a dangerous experiment to try and persuade 
her; but what would make her comfortable, and as 
happy as she can be made in this world, would be to 
purchase Djoun for her, and send such people as I 
have described out to her. 

" She never will herself make known to her family 
her distress ; her mind is too high, and knowing what 
I do, I felt it my duty to her, and to my fellow- 
creature, to make it known to one of her family. You, 
my Lord, I know, and you can make it known to her 

1823-1830] A REAL FRIEND 237 

brother James, 1 of whom she never ceases to talk, and 
for whom she retains the warmest affection. One 
thing must be taken care of, she must not know this is 
done, or perhaps she would take some extraordinary 
measure, such as flying away nobody knows where. 
She threatens this continually if they try to get her to 

" Her mind is so high, that, did she know I wrote 
this, she would never bear to hear my name again. 
" I remain, my Lord, 

" Your ever obliged servant, 

" C. YORKE. 

" P.S. I do sincerely hope some measures will be 
taken to make her comfortable. She has not very long 
to live, depend upon it. C. Y." 

Well might Lady Hester say of him (in writing to 
Kinglake) : " He is the kindest-hearted man existing 
a most manly, firm character. He comes from a 

food breed all the Yorkes excellent, with ancient 
rench blood in their veins." He was a real and 
constant friend. To the day of her death he never 
failed her ; whenever she was in trouble or difficulty 
(and when was she not ?) he was always at hand, 
ready to help, comfort, and advise her even though 
his advice was never followed. The last letter she 
probably ever wrote was addressed to him. 

The first that mentioned in his letter to his father is 
as follows : 

Lady Hester to Captain Yorke 


"Jan. m, 1825. 

" DEAR CAPTAIN YORKE, The mountain which you 
so much admired is shortly likely to be a scene of 
bloodshed. All the Druse population has risen against 
the Emir Beshyr in favour of the Sheick Beshyr, who, 

1 Considering the slow rate at which letters travelled in those days, 
this appeal can never have reached her poor brother, who died only 
a few weeks afterwards. 


they say, is supported by the Pacha of Damascus 
against the Pacha of Acre. The troops of the latter 
are encamped from the bridge all along the river, and 
he is expected to arrive to-morrow to head them. You 
may guess what my situation is, but depend upon it 
that I shall never want courage, or forget the duty 
I owe to my fellow-creatures. Thank God, my cough 
has left me nearly ; I was very, very ill indeed after 
your departure for about a fortnight. Michael has 
been recalled by his family ; his mother is ill. Yousef 
is at Cyprus, and my other Yousef not yet returned 
from Alexandria. When you see my good friend Mr. 
Werry, who has always been so civil to me, tell him 
that 1 am prepared to act as he has always <}one for 
this thirty years past. Don't be uneasy about me ; 
all is written above. I am never out of humour with 
events, only with those cursed rascals of Consuls, 
who deserve to be knocked into the kennel; and 
even if I was a man, I could not soil my sword with 
anything so unclean. Remember me most kindly to 
your uncle, and thank your doctor for the kind in- 
terest he was so good as to take about my health. 
A thousand thanks to yourself for the pearl barley. 
As I am employed with fifty things at once, I have 
dictated these few lines. It is said that another 
revolution is expected in the Metouali country, which 
is the range of mountains you saw above Sour, and 
there is a road of communication between that moun- 
tain and the mountains here, in the direction of that 
high black mountain where I passed the summer. 
This report is given credit to, as the Emir Beshyr 
has ordered all the convents in that direction to 
remove everything valuable ; it is supposed that these 
people will join the mountaineers here. I have had 
several civil messages from the camp from the Alba- 

1823-1830] REVOLUTION 239 

nians, Hawaras, Sugmars, Delatis, &c., but you know 
that the officers cannot at times command troops, 
great part of which are banditti, but all is written, as I 
said before. 

" P.S. (in her own writing). I am in better spirits 
than when you saw me, for the sight of you brought 
to my recollection old times, and it was with difficulty 
I could keep my ideas fixed upon what I was talking 
about. I was oppressed in body and mind. Adieu. 
"Yours most sincerely, 


This letter was sent through Dr. Meryon, probably 
because Lady Hester was ignorant of Captain Yorke's 
address in England ; and with it came the following 
enclosure : 



"January Wi, 1825. 

" Although I have never interfered in any of the 
political concerns of this country, and for many years 
have avoided all social intercourse with great men, 
the heads of parties, I could plainly see, by a sour 
silent discontent, that the state of things was not much 
to be relied upon. 

" The revolution has now broken out, and the whole 
mountain is in a flame. The Pacha's troops are en- 
camped two hours from me, and he is expected to- 
morrow. It is said he is in a violent passion. Whether 
his intention of heading his own troops is only a threat 
or his real intention I cannot pretend to say ; only 
that preparations are made for his arrival. All the 
villages about me are deserted except one, which 
remains trembling between the troops on one side 
and the mountaineers on the other; but they say 
every place at Sayda is so full that they know not 


where to go to ; even the convents have been cleared of 
everything valuable, and the priests are ready to fly. 
My situation is not a very agreeable one not that I 
fear danger (for I do not know what fear means), but 
from the great number of miserable people who have 
announced their intention of taking refuge here if 
they are driven from the asylum they have chosen, 
presents me with the prospect of starvation if this 
business last long, for these poor people are destitute 
of everything. Here are two lines to Captain Yorke, 
which you will be so good as to forward. Copy like- 
wise what I say here. 

11 H. L. S." 

This revolt, in which the Sheick Besh^r was joined 
by a brother of the Emir Beshyr's and three of his 
sons, might, according to Lamartine, have been 
successful, but for the interposition of the Pacha of 
Acre (the same Abdalla whose blood-fine Lady Hester 
had helped to pay). He owed his life to the Prince of 
the Mountain, and, mindful of his debt, now came to 
help him to victory. The Sheick was utterly routed, 
and took to flight, but was pursued and overtaken in 
the plains of Damascus. He had an escort of two 
hundred men, and might, it is said, easily have made 
good his escape, had not a Turkish officer, who was 
present, assured him that the Prince of the Mountain 
had pardoned him. On the faith of this assurance, he 
surrendered ; but was instantly seized, carried off to 
Damascus, stripped, bound, and thrown into prison. 
There he remained for some months, till his death- 
sentence had been pronounced by the Porte ; he was 
then strangled, beheaded, and his body cut up into 
bits and thrown to the dogs. The three young 
princes were also captured, and the Emir wreaked a 
terrible vengeance on his unfortunate nephews. He 
burnt out their eyes, cut out their tongues, and sent 
them out of the country. The Sheick's wife had fled 
with her young son ; but he sent after her, had her 
brought back, and demanded of her the little boy, say ing, 
" Let me see him cut to pieces before my eyes." Yet 


this treacherous barbarian was the same Prince of the 
Mountain who was Lady Hester's near neighbour, 
and had been her friend, with whom she had spent a 
month at her first coming to the country, and 
described as a "mild, amiable man!" (seep. 126). 
She was now horror-struck at these atrocities (besides 
others too shocking for me to repeat) and openly 
denounced him, even to his own people, as " a dog 
and a monster." He became her bitterest enemy, and 
his close vicinity a perpetual menace and trouble to 
the household at Djoun. 

Lady Hester was now to experience the last and 
crowning sorrow of her life. Two months after she 
wrote to Captain Yorke, on March 25th, 1825, she lost 
the brother she had so dearly loved. There is no one 
to tell us when she received, nor how she bore the 
news of this calamity ; no one was near to help and 
care for her, but her faithful old servant Elizabeth. 
Had it not been for her, she must have met and faced 
her bereavement alone. We do not know whether 
her courage failed, or her health broke down ; a pall 
of silence, tragic and solemn, falls over the dark days 
that followed. All we know is, that from this time 
forth her whole mode of life was changed. She was 
never seen outside her garden wall again. 

One grieves most for those whose sorrow is 
desolate ; whose cry of distress reaches no loving 
ear ; whose hand is stretched out for a kindred hand 
in vain. Lady Hester was truly forlorn in her 
affliction, thousands of miles away from all that 
belonged to her, in a strange and far-distant land. 
Yet, even then, her heart did not turn homewards. 
Even then, a word of sympathy that came from 
England was not welcome. Her only surviving 
sister, Lady Griselda, hoping that she might now, 
perhaps, break the long silence that had grown up 
between them, wrote to her several times after poor 
James's death. " I thought it would be consolatory 
to her to hear something of his child and the rest of 
the family. My letters were written in a kind and 
conciliatory spirit, and did not enter into any family 
disagreements, but she took no notice whatever of 
them." She mentions this as the only communication 
that passed between them for thirty years. 

Colonel Stanhope had, five years before his death, 



inherited from his kinsman, Sir Joseph Banks, 
Revesby Abbey and an estate in Lincolnshire, subject 
to the life interest of Lady Banks. As she survived 
him by three years, he never came into possession of 
the property, but by his will he charged it with an 
annuity of 1,500 a year to his sister Hester. This 
more than doubled her income, but it was still far in 
the future, to come to her only on Lady Banks' 
death ; and in the meantime her present need was 
pressing. She was in constant and terrible straits 
lor money, hampered with debts, and with endless 
demands upon her ; borrowing at usurious interest, 
and losing heavily by the exchange. She gives a 
deplorable account of her affairs to the doctor. 

Lady Hester to Dr. Meryon 

" As for my debts, it is not, as you think, 25 per cent, 
yearly that I have to pay, but 50 and 95 ; and in one 
instance I have suffered more loss still. Gold of 28^ 
piastres they counted to me here at 45, which I spent 
at 28|, and am to repay at Beyrout at the rate of 45 
calculate that ! " 

The turbulent times increased her difficulties. 

" I must keep a great number of animals, because 
there are none to hire as formerly, and these people, 
as you know, will not walk two hundred yards, and 
now that there is hardly any Government in the 
mountain, they are worse than ever. ... In point of 
wardrobe, I have made myself nearly naked. The 
distress of people has been so great that I have given 
everything away, except a few things that are too fine 
for me or others to wear under present circumstances. 
... I have no one person but Williams on whom I 
can rely. At times I have twenty people, at other 
times hardly any. They put their abba (cloak) upon 
their shoulders, and set off in the middle of the night 
for no reason whatever. Having got a little money 

1823-1830] DUPED 243 

and clothes, they prefer selling brandy at the camp, 
or taking advantage of the state of the country to do 
worse. I have led the life of a post-horse for two 
years past. Williams got a hurt on her side in 
moving a box. I would not allow her to stir 
her arm for nearly three weeks, and I worked 
like a slave. You are aware what the women are 
here nobody can work but slaves, and Williams 
has not spirit enough to manage them. If ill, there 
is not one capable of getting her a glass of water 
without doing it myself; when well, her time is taken 
up with store-room affairs and other bothers, and I 
am left in the hands of a stupid, sulky girl of twelve. 
... If I have any servants sent out I should wish them 
to be chiefly Scotch a steady Highlander with great 
courage, a fine open-countenanced spirited little devil 
of a Highland boy, and a sensible, middle-aged woman, 
understanding nursing sick people, and making pre- 
serves, &c. . . . What would become of poor Williams 
if anything should happen to me ? What means will 
she have of departing ? Whom can she confide in, poor 
soul ? This thought pains meloften more than I can 

In 1826 she was duped by a wretched impostor, 
who came to Djoun on a pretended mission from the 
Duke of Sussex, the Duke of Bedford, and " a com- 
mittee of influential Freemasons," to inquire into her 
affairs, pay her debts, and provide her with a suitable 
income. How she could have credited so improbable 
a story is unaccountable ; but hers was a sanguine 
disposition, and all people are prone to believe what 
they wish to be true. The man told her he had 
travelled with the Duke of Bedford's son, and had 
been " like a child of the family," and showed her a 
present he had received from His Royal Highness, 
that, " in case of accidents, was to be a passport 
partout" with an official red box of papers as his 
credentials from the " influential Committee." What 


his object can have been it is impossible to say, 1 as 
there was clearly no money obtainable ; but it was 
a very cruel trick to play upon her. Poor Lady 
Hester actually made out a list of the servants she 
was so sorely in need of. She writes to the doctor 
(who was then again preparing to join her, his 
engagement with the " honourable individual " having 
come to an end) : 

Lady Hester to Dr. Meryon 

" DjOUN, 

""January 5//fc, 1827. 

" I will not afflict you by drawing a picture of my 
situation, or of the wretched scare-crow grief and 
sickness have reduced me to, but I must tell you 
that I am nearly blind, and this is probably the last 
letter I shall be able to write to you ; indeed, no other 
will be necessary. . . . Now, here are my orders and 

ultimatum. If X 's story is true, and my debts, 

amounting to 10,000, or nearly, are to be paid, then 
I shall go on making sublime and philosophical dis- 
coveries, and employing myself in deep, abstract 
studies; although, as my strength is gone, I cannot 
work day and night as I have done. In that case, 
I shall want a mason, a carpenter, a ploughman, a 
gardener, groom, doctor, &c., so that I must have 
assistance. Income made out, 4,000 a year, and 
1,000 more for persons like you, that I should want ; 
and 5,000 ready money for provisions, buildings, 
animals, money in hand, &c., that I may start clear. 

" In the second case, in the event that all that has 
been told me is a lie, then let me be disowned publicly, 
now and hereafter, and left to my fate and faith alone ; 
for if I have not a right to what I want, I will have 

1 The following extract from another letter may throw some light 

on the subject. " Never did I tell X to ask for a place, or 

recommend him, more than saying he had acted generously and 
kindly by me, which I then believed." 

: 1823-1830] REFUSAL OF ASSISTANCE 245 

nothing. Nothing else will I hear, and grief has 
departed from my soul since I have taken the follow- 
ing resolution. 

" I shall give up everything for life that I may now, 
or hereafter, possess in Europe, to my creditors, and 
throw myself as a beggar upon Asiatic humanity, and 
wander far about without one para in my pocket, 
with the mare from the stable of Solomon in one 
hand, and a sheaf of the corn of Ben Israel in the 
other. I shall meet death, or that which I believe 
to be written, which no mortal hand can efface. . . . 
You meant to do well, so I will not scold. But 
why apply without leave to the ' Fat,' " ] (Duke of 
Buckingham) " or the ' Thin,' " (Earl Stanhope) ? 
" Or why talk to ... of my concerns ? What is ... 
to me ? I know him well a low-minded, chitter- 
chattering fellow. But suppose him an angel, had 
you my leave to consult or speak to him ? It is not 
likely. But in the event of the ' Fat ' or the ' Thin's ' 
having placed any money in the hands of my bankers, 
let them take it back again. . . . You have no ex- 
planations to make, only that I decline it. Under no 
circumstances, I repeat, will I owe anything to the 
1 Fat,' to the ' Thin,' to Canning and his friends, or 
have anything to do with ' Sir Vanity ' " (Sir Sidney 
Smith). " I say this, because I have heard of new 
plans of his. He may, perhaps, mean to come here 
if to-morrow, I shall shut the door in his face. If 
any force, Consular force, is ever tried with me, I 
shall use force in return, and appeal to the populace 
to defend me. It is right this should be known. I 
am no slave, and I disown all such authority. Never 
will I be brought to England, except in chains, and 

1 For some reason or other, Lady Hester, in her letters, always 
substituted initials or cypher for proper names. 


never will I be made to act differently from that 
which my will dictates, whilst there is breath in 
my body; therefore, to attempt to oppose me is in 
vain. . . . All situations have their blessings, with 
the grace of God. It is uncertainty which is torture ; 
but now my mind is made up. ... I have been very 
ill of a terrible fever, and strong convulsions. . . . My 
eyes are quite dim, and drawn into my head with 
contraction, which sometimes pulls my head back 
quite back. I can hardly crawl ; but yet, poor monster 
as I am, I shall get on, for my spirit and heart are 
"Now for servants." 

She required three men, "a storekeeper" (most 
needed of all), " to lock up, weigh, measure, 
and write down everything that comes in or goes 
out " ; an old dragoon to look after the saises 
(grooms), and a Scotch gardener ; a maid for herself, 
" not a fine lady, but one who has been a nursery or 
housemaid," and a housekeeper. She especially 
enjoined the doctor not to neglect " the good and 
bad marks" in their personal appearance, which, as 
she firmly believed, indicated character and dis- 

" Wrinkles at the eyes are abominable, and about 
the mouth. Eyebrows making one circle, if meeting, 1 
or close and straight, are equally bad. Those are 
good meeting the line of the nose, as if a double 
bridge. Eyes long, and wide between the eyebrows, 
and no wrinkles about the forehead when they laugh, 
or about the mouth, are signs of bad luck and 
duplicity. Eyes all zigzag are full of lies. A low, 
flat forehead is bad ; so are uneven eyes, one larger 
than the other, or in constant motion. I must have 

1 This is in accordance with the old saw : 

Mistrust a man whose eye-brows meet, 
For in his heart you'll find deceit. 


a fine, open face, all nature, with little education, 
in a fine, straight, strong, healthy person, with a 
sweet temper. 

" Did you ever see a picture or painting of the 
Lady William Russell, the Duke's brother's wife? 
That sort of face was perfect for a woman. If the 
eyebrows of a man are straight, and come nearly 
together, that is nothing; but, if they form an arch, 
it is always a sign of natural hum (melancholy) in the 
character. Never can such a one be contented or 
happy. Look at little Adams and General Taylor- 
how sincere are their black eyebrows ! 

" Don't make a mistake wrinkles of age are not the 
wrinkles of youth, of which I am speaking. One line 
is not called a wrinkle. The wrinkles I speak of are 
found in children of seven years old, when they laugh 
or cry." 

These instructions were, of course, useless; no 
servants could be hired, for no money was forth- 

Meanwhile, the doctor was making a dilatory and, 
as it proved, fruitless attempt to go to Djoun. On 
January 23rd, he and his family crossed over to Calais, 
where " the severity of the weather and the sale of 
some landed property in England" detained him for 
nearly four months, thence, progressing more rapidly, 
he reached Pisa on June i4th, proposing to embark 
for the East at Leghorn, but delayed his departure 
till September ;th, when he sailed in the Italian 
merchant brig Fortuna. When off Crete, they were 
boarded and plundered by a Greek privateer ; and 
the captain, who had been roughly handled, refused 
to proceed on his voyage, and took them back to 
Leghorn. Here they were detained in quarantine till 
November i/th, when Dr. Meryon gave up all further 
attempts to reach Syria till the spring, and went for 
the winter to Rome. But when spring came, he once 
more changed his mind, and finally returned to 
England in June, 1828. 


All this time poor Lady Hester was expecting him, 
and preparing for his arrival. 

Lady Hester to Dr. Meryon 

" I cannot read what I have written. I was two 
days making out your last letter. I had prepared a 
little court, with two rooms and an open divan, for 
you; but with Mrs. Meryon and the children it will 
not do. I shall love her and the dear children much, 
and all might be comfortable. God grant it so ! I 
have a house in the village, which is good, and will 
do very well clean, with two rooms upstairs. . . . 
Well, now I have said enough, and must make up my 
mind to have, in a few days, an attack, from over- 
straining my head and eyes ; but it is the last effort of 
the nature I shall make. Adieu. 

" P.S. A dun, who came here two months ago a 
Christian took a Turk into his room, after I had seen 
and spoken to him, and said : ' I came to get my 
money, but now I am ready to cry at her situation. It 
is clear that these Franks are unprincipled and un- 
feeling, that they have no religion, and know not God. 
The proof is and does there want a stronger ? their 
leaving such a wonderful person, as she really is, to 
wither with sorrow.' Then he went out swearing, and 
took his leave. These are the feelings now alive 
among the Turkish population. As a contrast, mark 
how Mr. ... an Englishman, acts. He told one of 
my creditors to take my bond, put it in water, and, 
when well sopped, to drink the mixture ; ' for that is 
all,' he said, ' you will ever get for it.' Furious was 
the creditor, and took himself off to a distance, but 
will, in a few months, be back again to torment me." 

The next letter is to Mr. John Webb, her banker at 

1823-1830] AN EMIR'S BOYCOTT 249 

Lady Hester to Mr. John Webb 


"May so//;, 1827. 

"A Firmanlee" (outlaw), "having taken refuge in 
the Mountain, under the protection of the Emir 
Beshyr, contrived to pick a quarrel with my water- 
carrier, who was quietly going about his business, and 
having bribed some of the Emir's Jack Ketches, they 
beat him most unmercifully. The Emir Beshyr and 
his chief people have likewise been bribed by this 
man, who has plenty of money at his disposal. They 
have all, therefore, taken the Firmanlee's part, and 
acted in the most atrocious way towards me. A short 
time since, the Emir thought proper to publish in the 
villages that all my servants were instantly to return 
to their homes, upon pain of losing their property 
or lives. I gave them all their option. Most of 
them have remained firm, being aware that this order 
is the most unjust, as well as the most ridiculous, that 
ever was issued. Since that, he has threatened to 
seize and murder them here, which he shall not do 
without taking my life too. Besides this, he has given 
orders in all the villages that men, women, and 
children shall be cut in a thousand pieces who render 
me the smallest service. My servants, of course, as 
you must imagine, cannot go out, and the peasants of 
the villages cannot approach the house. Therefore, I 
am of no very pleasant situation, being deprived of the 
necessary supplies in food, and, what is worse, of 
water, for all the water here is brought upon mules' 
backs up a great steep. 

" I should not be a thoroughbred Pitt if fear were 
known to me, or if I could bow to a monster who 
could chain together the neck and feet of a venerable, 
white-bearded, respectable man . . . and if a father 


had escaped from his clutches, has loaded his infant son 
with his chains ! For the space of three years I have 
refused to have the smallest communication with the 
Emir. He sent me one of his grand envoys the other 
day one of those who were charged with the budget of 
lies sent to Mehemet Ali. I refused to see him, or to 
read the letter of which he was the bearer. 

" My kind friend and former physician, Dr. Meryon, 
has blasted his own prospects in life by giving up 
everything in Europe to join me in this country, with- 
out consulting any one. ... In case of his being at 
Leghorn, you would confer a great obligation upon 
me, if you would advance him 100 for his expenses, 
and give him this letter. . . . 

" Ten thousand thanks for your kind recipe for my 
eyes. I have not had a moment's time to bestow a 
thought upon myself since I received it. 

" Dear Lord Frederick ! " (Bentinck) " what changes 
have taken place in my situation since I saw him last ! 
But I am too much of a Turk to complain of the 
decrees of Heaven. 

" I forgot to mention that there is a plague at Sayda. 
Most of the people are shut up ; and, although I have 
suffered cruelly from the malady formerly, I am in no 
apprehension concerning it, as I am a perfect pre- 
destinarian. Happy for me that I have inspired the 
same feelings into all those who surround me. 

" If it please God that I, like Joseph, should come 
safe out of the well, I hope it will be needless to assure 
you that, whatever part of your family might fall in 
my way, my greatest pleasure would be to endeavour 
to make them, by every service and attention, the 
evidence of the respect and regard which I bear you." 

Lady Hester spent the summer of 1827 in constant 
fear of her life. The Emir's power was now firmly 

1823-1830] DJOUN 251 

re-established in the Mountain, and he had set his 
mind upon getting rid of her. She slept, as she told the 
doctor, with a nhanjar (poniard) under her pillow, 
" and slept as sound as a top. Poor Williams was 
terrified out of her senses ; she used to get up in the 
night and come to me. At that time there were five 
hundred horsemen about in the neighbouring villages, 
and they killed three men ; one between the house and 
the village, one at the back of my premises, and one 
other farther off, just to let me know what they could 
do, thinking to terrify me ; but I showed them that I 
was not to be frightened." On one occasion a messenger 
sent by the Emir laid aside his sabre and pistols before 
entering the room. Miss Williams whispered to her 
what he had done, and she called to him to take up his 
weapons again, and tell his master she did not care a 
fig for him and his poisons. " If he means to try his 
strength with me, I am ready." At last, Sir Stratford 
Canning, our Ambassador at Constantinople, hearing 
of her danger, sent over one of his staff to her assist- 
ance, and set matters to rights. 

Lady Hester to Dr. Meryon 


" November gtft, 1827. 

11 1 have been, during three months of this summer, 
absolutely as if in prison. The representatives of the 
John Bulls in this country having impressed the Emir 
Beshyr with the assurance that I had not a friend in 
the world, he proceeded upon unheard outrages 
towards me, and, if he did not actually put my life in 
danger, he had it publicly cried, 1 that whoever served 
me should be bastinadoed and amerced. 

"This unheard-of stretch of insolence was set to 
rights by our old friend at Constantinople, who acted 
very well towards me. The Emir Beshyr, with all the 
art and meanness well known to him, has now become 
abjectly humble. One of his people told me it was not 

1 " The criers in villages on Mount Lebanon stand on the roofs of the 
houses at sunset, and with a loud voice, give out the orders and pro- 
clamations of their Sheicks and Emirs/ 


his doings, but the work of . . ., who had put it into his 
head, and finding that he had made a false calculation, 
and displeased great and small in the country by his 
vile conduct, he is humble enough, and repents having 
given me an opportunity of showing what I am. I 
am thus become more popular than ever, having shown 
an example of firmness and courage no one could 
calculate upon it was poor little David and the giant. 
But the God who defended David defended me from 
all the assassins by whom I was surrounded. Even 
water from the spring the beast would not let me 
have. The expense to get provisions brought in the 
night by people was enormous. Some risked their 
lives to serve me and bring me food. One person only 
came openly, and that was a woman, saying she would 
die sooner than obey such atrocious orders, and called 
down curses on the Emir, the Consuls, and all of them. 
This conduct was well worthy a follower of Ali. . . . 

" A young seyd, a friend of mine, when riding one 
day in a solitary part of the mountain, heard the echo 
of a strange noise in the rocks. He listened, and 
hearing it again, got off his horse to see what it was. 
To his surprise, in the hollow of the rock he saw an 
old eagle, quite blind and unfledged by age. Perched 
by the eagle he saw a carrion crow feeding him. If 
the Almighty thus provides for the blind eagle, he will 
not forsake me, and the carrion crow may look down 
with contempt on your countrymen. 

" I say this because I have seen two doctors they 
were English and they tell me that, though my eyes 
are good, my nerves are destroyed, and that causes 
my blindness. Writing these few lines will be some 
days' illness to me ; but I make an effort, in order to 
assure you of the grief I have felt at being, I fear, the 
cause of your affairs being worse than if you had not 

1823-1830] CONSULS AGAIN! 253 

known me. All I can say is, if God helps me, I 
shall not forget you. You can do nothing for me now; 
trust in God, and think of the eagle. Remember ! all is 
written; we can change nothing of our fate by 
lamenting and grumbling. Therefore, it is better to 
be like a true Turk, and do our duty to the last, and 
then beg of the believers in one God a bit of daily 
bread ; and if it come not, die of want, which perhaps 
is as good a death as any other, and less painful. But 
never act contrary to the dictates of conscience, of 
honour, of nature, or of humanity." 

Lady Hester to Mr. John Webb 

(Supposed date) " October^ 1827. 

" I thank you a thousand times, my dear sir, for the 
anxiety you express on my account; and, although 
surrounded by a hundred difficulties, I am cheerful, 
and the Turks behave very well to me. That old 
monster, the Emir Beshyr, is pretty quiet at this 
moment, at least as far as regards me ; but he is 
reducing to beggary and to misery all who surround 
him. A real Turk is a manly, though rather violent, 
kind-hearted being, and if he has confidence in you, 
very easy to deal with. I have often wondered at 
their gentlemanlike patience with low, blustering, 
vulgar men, who give themselves more airs than an 
Ambassador, because chance has placed them as 
Consul or agent in some dirty town not equal to a 
village in France ; men who, in fact, in Europe, would 
scarcely have their bow returned in the street by a 
man of condition. It is the general conduct of these 
sort of people that have given the Orientals such a 
false idea of Europeans. The race of Christians here 
is of the vilest people in the world; not all totally 
without talent, but all without principle, or a single 


good quality. Out of the great number of children, 
both boys and girls, which I have taken before they 
have changed their teeth, not one has turned out pass- 
able, and most of them have become vagabonds. If a 
poor man falls ill, and gives his wife a little trouble to 
wait upon him, she soon ends the business with a 
little poison ; and if a woman marries again, the 
husband casts off all her children by the former 
marriage, and she, without remorse, leaves them to 
die in a hovel, or abandons them under a tree to beg 
for subsistence. It was only last night that one of 
these wretched beings came to me, skin and bone, 
having been thirty days ill of a fever. The very girls 
I have brought up with the greatest care have, when 
married, beaten their children of two years old so 
violently as to stun them ; and one, from the blow she 
gave her child upon the head, caused the bowels to 
protrude more than a span. A man thinks nothing of 
taking up a stone as large as his head, and throwing it at 
his wife when she is with child. These are the beastly 
people that create the compassion of Europeans a 
horrid race, that deserves to be exterminated from the 
face of the earth. What a contrast between these 
wretches and the wild Arabs, who will traverse 
burning sands barefooted to receive the last breath of 
some kind relation or friend, who teach their children 
at the earliest period resignation and fortitude, and 
who always keep alive a spirit of emulation amongst 
them ! They are the boldest people in the world, yet 
are endued with a tenderness quite poetic, and their 
kindness extends to all the brute creation by which 
they are surrounded. For myself, I have the greatest 
affection and confidence in these people ; besides, I 
admire their diamond eyes, their fine teeth, and the 
grace and agility (without capers) which is peculiar to 

1823-1830] BATTLE OF NAVARINO 255 

them alone. When one sees these people, one's 
thoughts naturally revert to the time of Abraham, 
when man had not his head filled with all the false 
systems of the present day. . . . 

" I have heard that at Genoa there are very fine 
flowers. If you would procure me a few seeds, I 
should be very much obliged to you, as my stock of 
flowers this year has become very low, owing to my 
having had a very careless gardener, who neglected to 
water the seeds, so that they never came up. My fine 
steed is gone long ago, and my garden remains my 
only amusement" 

Shortly after this, the news of the battle of Navarino 
spread consternation throughout Syria, and almost all 
the Frank residents at Sayda hurried panic-struck to 
take refuge at Djoun. Lady Hester boarded and 
lodged them till they could return home in safety. 
Yet she herself was so poverty-stricken that on one 
occasion she was driven to sell, for their weight in 
gold, forty guineas that she had saved from the ship- 
wreck, and treasured up as her poor brother's parting 

S'.ft. The following year, however, the death of Lady 
anks put her in possession of her annuity of 1,500. 
She did not hear of the doctor's ill-fated voyage till 
long afterwards. She then wrote to him at Pisa, where 
she believed him to be, and the letter followed him to 

Lady Hester to Dr. Meryon 


"March id, 1828. 

" I have received the account of your disasters by 
sea, and latterly the books you were so good as to 
send me. The books I cannot read, and I have 
nobody to read them for me; however, I thank you 
for your kind attention. I am much afflicted at the 
trouble and vexation you have had, and at the situation 
in which you find yourself. I must say, it would be 
very imprudent to bring women or children into this 



country at this moment, and a great source of fatigue 
and anxiety to me, for they could not be comfortable 
under the present circumstances of the time. What I 
should propose is, that when you have settled your 
business, you immediately set off alone with a Dutch 
passport, in case things should turn out ill before you 
arrive. Leave Mrs. Meryon at Pisa, where she could 
remain very comfortably until you return. . . . 

" The plague will be over before you get here. The 
Turks behave extremely well towards me ; the 
Christians and Franks as ill. I shall say nothing about 
the state of my affairs (you may guess what it may be 
in these times), nor the state of my health, without 
a person of any kind to help me in anything. . . . 

" Salute Mrs. Meryon, and say I hope no childish 
feeling will prevent her from allowing you to be absent 
a little while. I feel for her but I cannot write. She 
may rely upon me ; only obey me strictly. Had you 
done so before, things might have been otherwise for 
all ; but simpletons will be wise men, and that is what 
has turned the world upside down, as well as caused 
much unhappiness to individuals. I promise to keep 
you only a few months, but I want to see you." 

Lady Hester to Dr. Meryon 

" DjOUN, 

" August 2$th, 1828. 

" I have heard from Mr. Webb's house that you are 
gone to England. My heart misgives me. ... Do 
not let your head be crammed with ideas that you 
cannot land ; for, notwithstanding the departure of 
Consuls and Franks from this part of the world, I 
firmly believe that any one coming to me, either in a 
man-of-war or an open boat, his landing would not be 
opposed, even if things were more decidedly bad than 
they are. . . . Never write to me but through Mr. 

1823-1830] DJOUN 257 

Webb's house, whether you come or do not come. I 
want no reasons, and no long stories. . . . You must 
not think of bringing any Frank servant with you. I 
have a room ready for you, and I hope you will be 
very comfortable. . . . 

" P.S. Ah ! why did you not come directly, and 
bring Lucy ? What a comfort to me ! " 

Neither of these letters was in Lady Hester's hand- 
writing ; they were dictated to Miss Williams, who 
often acted as her secretary. The next tells of the loss 
of this faithful friend and companion to her an utterly 
irreparable one. 

Elizabeth Williams had been with her very many 
years, loyally following her fortunes in weal and woe, 
health and sickness, privation and danger. She was 
the only person about her on whom Lady Hester 
could at all depend, and had given signal proof of her 
attachment and devotion to her service. Lady Hester 
was now entirely friendless and forsaken ; there was 
no one left to help and stand by her; and she was 
virtually at the mercy of a crew of villainous servants, 
like those who (as it will be seen) had robbed and 
deserted her on her sick bed. 

Lady Hester to Mr. John Webb 


" October 2%th t 1828. 

" When I received your letter of July i7th, I was 
very ill, confined to my room, and occasionally 
delirious. Nevertheless, in a moment of reason, I 
desired M. Gerardin to acquaint you with the great 
loss I had sustained in the faithful Miss Williams. 

" After two years of plague, there broke out, over 
almost all Mount Lebanon, a kind of fever, which I do 
not know precisely how to name. Whether it was a 
sort of yellow or malignant fever, poor Miss Williams 
fell a victim to it, as well as a servant named Moosa, 
the only one in whom I had any confidence ; and I but 
just escaped death from it myself. I am, as it were, 


come to life again by a miracle, owing to the attentions 
of a rich peasant, who came from a considerable dis- 
tance to assist me. He found me entirely abandoned, 
delirious, and at the point of death ; and left in that 
state by whom? by wicked maids, who had cost Miss 
Williams and me such pains in endeavouring to make 
something of them. You may easily imagine that I 
did not keep such ungrateful sluts an instant after I 
came to myself. Even in the weak state in which I 
was, I felt in a rage at the deplorable accounts which 
were given me of the detestable indifference they 
showed when Miss Williams was dying, occupying 
themselves in pilfering what they could lay their hands 
on. But I have already told you what the Christians 
of this country are. At the present moment, I have 
nobody to assist me but some old women of the 
village, the most stupid and ignorant creatures in the 
world. My greatest resource is a girl of eight years 
old, whom I have brought up, who appears attached 
to me, 1 and who is less stupid than the others. How- 
ever, one cannot get well very fast, attended by such 
people, to whom it is impossible to trust a key. I am 
moved from my bed to the sofa, and from the sofa to 
the bed, and I am not yet able to walk without 
support ; but, if I was better waited on, and had more 
quiet, and proper things to eat, I know very well what 
an effort my iron constitution would make, which has 
brought me through this illness without doctor or 
doctor's stuff. I have a good appetite ; but my weak- 
ness of stomach does not enable me to digest the coarse 
and badly cooked food which they give me to eat, 
seeing that my stomach has been very much dis- 
ordered from want of nourishment during fifteen 

1 This was the girl Fatoom, who afterwards robbed her of money 
and effects to a considerable amount. 

1823-1830] DJOUN 259 

days, having subsisted all that time on barley water 
and plain water. 

" My ignorance of what passed around me was not, 
properly speaking, the delirium of fever; it was a 
stupor, caused by the neglect with which I was 
treated. The peasant says that when he entered my 
bedroom, he found me stiff and cold, in a state of one 
dying of hunger. He gave me food immediately. 
After some days I came to myself, and am now 
gaining strength. But in the midst of all this, I am 
not melancholy. What has happened, has happened, 
and whatever is, is best. ... It seems to me that, 
if Dr. Meryon had decided upon coming, he would 
have been here before now. Well ! I have got over 
this illness without his assistance, or that of any other 
doctor, and one feels much more elevated when God 
has been one's physician. It is the Supreme Being 
alone who has saved me in all my difficulties, for 
these last twenty years, and who has given me 
strength to support what others would have sunk 

This letter was communicated by Mr. Webb to 
Dr. Meryon, who had returned to risa in October, 
and on hearing of Lady Hester's distressed situation, 
was induced " to set aside every other consideration, 
and make the voyage to Syria without loss of time, 
even in the depth of winter." But this intention only 
proved another illustration of the old adage, " More 
haste, less speed " ; for exactly two years elapsed 
before he carried it out, and hastened to her assistance. 
It was in December, 1828, that he proposed to go to 
Djoun, and it was in December, 1830, that he arrived. 

No letters of hers are forthcoming during these 
two years ; but the following account of her, given by 
a Mr. Davidson, must refer to the first of them. 

" How I wish," writes Miss Wynn, in July, 1835, 
" I could fix here one quarter of the amusement and 

260 MR. DAVIDSON [CH. vi 

information which I have derived from the conversa- 
tion of Mr. Davidson, the Eastern traveller ; he seems 
to me like a man walked out of the 'Arabian Nights ' 
bodily. ... I was asking one day about Lady Hester 
Stanhope. He did not see her, having arrived just 
after the death of her only English companion, who, 
having begun as maid, ended as secretary, friend, 
&c. f &c. He describes her, as others have done, 
turning night into day, and sleeping through the 
daylight, with very weak eyes, and without any 
pursuit but astrology. He says she has lost much 
of her power, or, rather, of her widely extended 
influence, still possessing the most arbitrary authority 
over her own small district. This diminution of 
power may be ascribed partly to her increase of years, 
which prevents her from riding and showing herself 
among them, partly to the want of that novelty which 
dazzles, but chiefly from the want of money, from the 
weight of debt, which prevents her from spending 
among them the annual income which she derives 
from England. Upon this subject he gave us a story 
curiously illustrative of Oriental character. 

"About two years ago, Lady Hester went into 
Persia, with a view of obtaining assistance and pro- 
tection from the Shah. She provided a present of 
English goods, which was really very handsome. 
This was (according to etiquette) offered to the Shah 
by means of the interpreter, through whom were also 
sent the thanks, with all the grandiloquence of the 
East, his sense of the magnificence of the present ; 
sun, moon, and stars were also eclipsed ; gratitude 
was described in the same terms, their admiration for 
the spirit, liberality, greatness of mind, of the English 
aristocracy, of which he felt the influence so strongly, 
as to be aware that to the English the true way of 

1823-1830] DJOUN 261 

showing the sense of favours received was to gratify 
their noble nature by asking more. Aware not only 
of this, but that his poor empire did not contain 
anything worthy of being offered to the great lady, 
he would ask of her the favour of a loan. Her project 
(which the Shah had discovered) was to borrow 
money of him which she never could repay." Diaries 
of a Lady of Quality. 

This is but one instance of the ridiculous stories 
told of Lady Hester. Her journey to Persia is entirely 

But to return to the doctor and his peregrinations. 
When, in the winter of 1828, he decided to go to Lady 
Hester, " although the navigation of the Mediterranean 
is very boisterous " at that season, he found a 
merchantman at Leghorn about to sail for Beyrout, 
and made his agreement with the captain. Nothing 
remained but to sign it, and here Mrs. Meryon 
intervened. She absolutely refused to be left behind, 
and, mindful of sea-sickness and pirates, as abso- 
lutely refused to go with him. The merchantman 
sailed without him, the winter passed, spring came, 
then summer, and still Mrs. Meryon " hesitated and 
wavered," and her husband vainly awaited her 
decision. At last she agreed that he should take 
her back to England, and return to embark alone. 
In August, 1829, they accordingly started homewards, 
via Marseilles, and got as far as Paris. Here she 
changed her mind, and declared she would go with 
him, and they went back to Marseilles; but " it was 
not till November, 1830, that she could be prevailed 
upon to set her foot in a vessel." The doctor's 
patience and devotion are quite admirable. A whole 
twelvemonth of persuasion would have tried the 
temper of most men. 

They embarked in a small French brig, and, after a 
prosperous voyage, reached Beyrout on December 8th. 
Lady Hester had got ready for them a comfortable 
and convenient cottage in the village of Djoun, and 
sent servants and donkeys to meet them, with a letter 
of welcome for the doctor. She expressed her pleasure 
at his coming, but reminded him that she had warned 


him not to bring his wife with him, for English ladies, 
she thought, could never make themselves happy in 
Syria. As he had, however, chosen to do so, Mrs. 
Meryon must not expect any special attention from 
her, beyond that of making her as comfortable as 
might be in her new home. The doctor scented 
trouble in the air. 

He found Lady Hester little changed, very gracious, 
and glad to see him. To his great surprise she, 
who hitherto had hardly even condescended to take 
his arm, now gave him the Oriental kiss of peace on 
both cheeks, and they sat down to dinner together. 
He was shocked to find how poor she had become ; 
to note the rush-bottomed chairs, the small unpainted 
deal table, with its scanty table-cover, the plates of 
coarse yellow earthenware, and the two silver spoons, 
which, she told him, were all she had. She said she 
had entertained the young Due de Richelieu in a 
similar style, but had been far better provided before 
her severe illness two years ago, when her servants 
plundered her of everything they could lay hands on, 
taking even the cushions and covers of her sofa. She 
detained him much against his will till past mid- 
night ; and when, at last released, h hurried back 
to Mrs. Meryon, he found her in poignant distress, 
persuaded that he had been devoured by wolves or 

Lady Hester's mode of life at this period is minutely 
described by the doctor. She had, for some years 
past, got into the habit of sitting up the greater part 
of the night, and always went to bed unwillingly, as 
she was a bad sleeper. Yet, when once laid down, she 
seldom rose till late in the afternoon, transacting all 
her business, giving her orders, and writing her letters 
in bed. Much, if not most, of her time was thus spent 
in her bedroom, of which the doctor gives a deplorable 

"This room bore no resemblance to an English 
or French chamber, and, independent of its rude 
furniture, was hardly better than a common peasant's. 
Its appearance, when illness confined its occupant to 
her bed, was something of this sort ; for I often 

1 1823-1830] LADY HESTER'S APARTMENT 263 

1 entered it, early in the morning, before breakfast. 
[On the floor, which was of cement, lay, upon an 
Egyptian mat, a large bit of drab felt, of the size of 
a bed-side carpet, and a coarse chintz cushion, from 
! which her black slave, Zezefoon, had just risen, and 
I where she had slept by her mistress' side ; the slave 
having this privilege over the maid, who always slept 
behind a curtain. This dirty, red cotton curtain was 
suspended by a cord across the room, to keep off the 
wind when the door opened, most of the curtain rings 
being torn off, so that the curtain hung, alternately, 
suspended here, and dangling there, a testimony of 
the little time the maids found for mending. There 
were three windows to the room, all uncurtained ; one 
was nailed up by its shutter on the outside, and one 
closed by a bit of felt on the inside ; the third only 
was reserved for the admission of light and air, 
looking on the garden. In ^two deep niches of the 
wall were heaped on a shelf a few books, some bundles 
tied up in handkerchiefs, writing paper, &c., all in 
confusion, with sundry other things for daily use ; 
such as white plate, with several pairs of scissors, 
two or three pairs of spectacles, &c., and another with 
pins, sealing wax, wafers, &c., with a common white 
inkstand, and the old parchment cover of a merchant's 
day-book, with blotting paper inside, by way of a 
blotting book, in which, spread on her lap as she sat 
up in bed, she generally wrote her letters. These 
places were seldom swept out, and dust and cobwebs 
covered the books, of which, I believe, she never 
looked into any, except Tissot's Avis au Peuple, 
another medical book, of which I have forgotten the 
title, the Court Calendar, a Bible, and Domestic 
Cookery. An earthenware ybrick, or jug with a 
spout, stood in one of the windows, with a small 


copper basin, and this was her washing apparatus. 
Near the foot of the bed stood an upright, ill-made, 
walnut-wood box, with a piece of green calico hanging 
before it. The ground was strewn with small bundles, 
gown-pieces of silk or coloured cotton, which she 
destined as presents, bits of twine and brown paper, 
left from day to day, of packages which had been 
undone, &c." 

Her bed had neither curtains nor mosquito net, and 
consisted only of planks nailed on trestles at a slight 
incline; over this was laid a mattress with Barbary 
blankets instead of sheets, and pillows covered with 
soft Turkish silk. There was no counterpane, but 
a woollen abba, or fur pelisse, was thrown over it, 
as occasion required. Close at hand hung the bell- 
rope, a stout cord, knotted at the end, and reeved 
through a pulley screwed into the ceiling, communi- 
cating with a powerful bell, that was the terror of the 
household. On a low stool by the bedside, which 
served as a table, were placed a variety of things she 
might want or fancy, such as strawberry preserve, 
lemonade, chamomile tea, ipecacuanha lozenges, a 
bottle of cold water, &c., or else violet syrup, wine, 
aniseeds, or cloves, quince preserve, orgeat, a cup 
of cold tea, covered with its saucer, a pill box, &c. 

"So thickly was the wooden stool covered, that it 
required the greatest dexterity to take up one thing 
without knocking down half-a-dozen more. And, in 
this respect, the noiseless movements and dexterity 
of the Syrian and black women pass all imagination. 
For months together nothing of this assemblage would 
be upset or broken. 

" Lady Hester had no watch, clock, or timepiece, 
and generally the last words, when I left her in the 
evening, were, 'Doctor, tell me what o'clock it is 
before you go.' I took the liberty of asking her 
why she had never sent for a watch or timepiece 


during all the years she had remained on Mount 
I Lebanon. ' Because I cannot bear anything that is 
I unnatural,' was her answer : * the sun is for the day, 
i and the moon and stars for the night, and by them 

I like to measure time.' " 

Next to her bedroom was her Turkish bath, of 
which she was extremely fond, and used, in the 
doctor's opinion, oftener than was good for her 

She slept, according to Oriental custom, more than 
half dressed. Her night shirt was of silk and cotton, 
over which she wore a white quilted jacket and a 
short pelisse. She retained her turban, with the 
keffeyah (a striped handkerchief worn by the Bedouins) 
tied under her chin, and wrapped a shawl round her 
head and shoulders. 

When she had at last made up her mind to retire 
to rest, and dismissed the wearied doctor, her maids 
gave him a lamentable account of what they had to 
undergo. Let us hope they a little exaggerated their 
sufferings. Very often she found fault with her bed, 
and had it made over again in her presence ; while 
this was doing, she would smoke her pipe, call for the 
sugar basin to eat two or three lumps of sugar, and 
for a clove to take away the taste of the sugar. The 
night lamp was next lighted, and two wax-lights 
placed ready for use in the window; she then got 
into bed, and the maid who was to sleep in the room 
lay down on her mattress. The other girl was sent 
away, but had hardly reached her room when the 
bell rang violently; Lady Hester wanted broth, or 
lemonade, or orgeat. This was brought on a tray, 
one of the maids holding a candle, shaded by her 
hand, while her mistress sat up in bed and sipped it. 
Sometimes she ate a bit of dry toast, pronounced 
it ill-made and sent for another piece, perhaps to be 
left untouched. Then she again composed herself to 
sleep, but not for long; she felt a pain somewhere 
or other, and rang for a fomentation of chamomile, 
elder flower, or mallow. The gardener had now to 
be sent for, water boiled, &c., then she remembered 
some order she had forgotten to give during the day, 
and the servant in question was at once summoned 


to receive it. The bell, they declared, was always 
going; and the simple solution of the difficulty that 
commended itself to them never answering it was 
warily guarded against by Lady Hester, who em- 
ployed two stout watchmen to rouse and produce the 
delinquents. Why she should have required to ring 
her bell at all, with one maid always sleeping in her 
room (elsewhere the doctor says there were two, see 
p. 263) is not so easy to explain. 

At last Lady Hester slept, and for three, four, or 
five hours they were left in peace. But no sooner 
was she awake than the dreaded sound was again 
heard, and the business of the day commenced in 
grim earnest. She received, one after the other, her 
steward (Paolo Perini, a Roman), her secretary (a 
Frenchman named Chasseaud), the doctor, the groom, 
the gardener, and sometimes the whole of her house- 
hold. It was numerous ; for, besides those already 
named and the two girls, Fatoom and Zezefoon, who 
principally waited upon her, there was a dragoman, 
two stablemen, a cook, a scullion, three or four men 
as muleteers and water-carriers, two others, employed 
as messengers, to carry letters, &c., who had been in 
her service from ten to fifteen years, and half-a-dozen 
black slaves. Nobody not even the doctor was 
allowed to enter except at her summons. 

Every morning the secretary brought her a list of 
comers and goers, and an exact account of what had 
been done by each servant during the preceding day. 
Few, indeed, escaped a scolding when thus brought 
to book ; for the violence and irritability of her temper 
had greatly increased, and the household over which 
she ruled was to put it mildly an exasperating one. 
It was very badly managed, and composed of idle, 
lying, pilfering, rascally servants, 1 of whom she used 
to say, " I could hang half-a-dozen of them, if I chose." 
She was a severe task-mistress, and by no means 

1 This is how the doctor describes them. " A Turk for work is little 
better than a brute animal ; he moves about nimbly, when roused by 
vociferation and threats, and squats down like a dog when his work 
is done. England produces no type of the Syrian serving-man. He 
sets about his work as a task that is given to him, and when it is over, 
sits down immediately to smoke his pipe and to gossip, or seeks a 
snug place near at hand, and goes to sleep. You call him, and set 
him to do something else, and the same practice follows. The next 
day you expect he will, of his own accord, recommence what was 

11823-1830] DJOUN 267 

sparing in her punishments, often boxing the ears 
of the culprits with her own hand ; but she exercised 
no sort of supervision. She told the doctor that, for 
ifour years past, she had never put her head outside 
I her own court; "for if I did, I should certainly fall 
(into such a passion with some of the people, that it 
would make me ill." She was peremptory and im- 
jperious, and, like her father, exacted blind and 
unquestioning obedience; her servants were to have 
neither will nor opinion of their own, and she tolerated 
no suggestions. The gardener might send to say that 
he had dug up a piece of ground, and found it suited 
for such and such vegetables. "Tell him," she would 
reply, "that, when I order him to dig, he is to dig, 
and not to give his opinion as to what the ground 
is fit for. It may be for his grave that he digs, it 
may be for mine. He must know nothing until I 
send my orders, and so bid him go about his busi- 
ness." Again, a girl had presumed to alter a message 
given to her about some mats, and Lady Hester had 
her nose rubbed against the mats to punish her. Yet, 
with all this sharp discipline, she struggled vainly to 
break her maids of their disgusting habits. " Doctor," 
she would cry in despair, "they wipe their noses and 
then the drinking glasses with the same towel ; and 
lie, and lie, with an assurance that sets detection at 
defiance." She strove, too, diligently and vehemently, 
to enforce morality in her household, but with no 
better success. As long as Miss Williams lived, a 
semblance of propriety was observed ; but, when she 
was gone, this, too, disappeared, and Lady Hester 
stormed and chastised in vain. 1 

Though thus violent and tyrannical, she was, at the 
same time, extremely liberal and generous as regards 

shown him on the preceding day ; but no such thing ; you have to 
tell him over again, and so every day. He is a thief from habit, and 
a liar of the most brazen stamp, as no shame is ever attached to 
detection. In plausible language, protestations of honour and fidelity, 
he has no superior; and, if beaten and reviled, he will smother 
his choler, nay, kiss the hand that has chastised him, but waits 
a fit opportunity for vengeance, and carefully weighs kicks against 

1 Occasionally, however, she showed herself lenient. Once, when 
two black slaves had misbehaved, "with the sad results of such 
conduct" (in the doctor's phraseology this means a baby), she 
sent for the offenders, insisted on their instant marriage, and set 
them free. 


clothes, New Year's gifts, &c. ; and the doctor declares 
that he never knew a servant who did not wish to 
leave her, nor one who did not wish to come back, 
when he had. Not only the presents, but the dis- 
honest gains to be obtained in her service, rendered 
it popular, "to place nothing to the account of that 
spell which she infallibly cast over everybody who 
came within the sphere of her attraction." 

Having given her orders for the day, Lady Hester 
at last rose, and dressed. Her costume, he assures 
us, was very becoming, and concealed the emacia- 
tion, through ill-health and advancing years, of her 
once fine figure. She wore a very ample white 
merino abba? looped across the chest, and falling in 
graceful folds to her ankles, over a crimson robe 
(joobey) of the same length; and to this, in winter, 
she added a warm pelisse. Underneath was a cream- 
coloured or flowered gown (hombaz) and wide scarlet 
cloth trousers; on her feet, loose Turkish yellow 
morocco boots. Her turban was a coarse, woollen 
cream-coloured Barbary shawl, wound round the red 
fez that covered her shaven head, and over this was 
thrown the red and yellow striped keffeyah> the ends 
either tied under her chin, or hanging down on each 
side of her face. 

" She never wore pearls, precious stones, or 
ornaments of any kind, as some travellers have 
asserted ; indeed, she had none in her possession, and 
never had had any from the time of her shipwreck. 
Speaking of her own dress, she would say, ' I think 
I look something like those sketches of Guercino's, 
where you see scratches and touches of the pen round 
the heads and persons of his figures, so that you don't 
know whether it is hair or a turban, a sleeve or an 
arm, a mantle or a veil, which he has given them . 
And when she was seated on the sofa, in a dim corner 
of the room, the similitude was very just." 

During the day, she walked in her garden, now her 
chief pleasure, received reports from some of the 

1 One of these is now in my possession. 

1823-1830] PACHA OF ACRE 269 

numerous emissaries and spies she employed, who 
kept her well informed of all that went on in the 
:ountry, and attended to her correspondence. This 
took up a great deal of time. Her letters were volu- 
minous, but chiefly dictated to her secretary ; whatever 
>he herself wrote was written, as we have seen, in bed. 
She corresponded on every subject under the sun. 

" In the same day, I have frequently known her to 

dictate, with the most enlarged political views, papers 

that concerned the welfare of a pashalik, and the next 

moment she would descend, with wondrous facility, to 

some trivial details about the composition of a house- 

3aint, the making of butter, the drenching of a sick 

lorse, the choosing lambs, or the cutting out of a 

maid's apron. She had a finger in everything, and in 

everything was an adept" 

One of her constant correspondents was the Pacha 
of Acre, the same Abdalla whose blood-fine she had 
iclped to pay (see p. 224). He had remained her fast 
riend, even though she sometimes told him home 

" How odious has Abdalla Pacha rendered himself 
t>y his confiscations and extortions," she said to the 
doctor, " because none of his people will speak the 
truth to him ! When he wants money, his secretaries 
tell him he has only to sign an order for it, and then, 
perhaps, half-a-dozen families are driven into exile, or 
half ruined. But I speak plainly to him ; and once, 
when I wrote to him how he was making himself hated 
by a particular act of oppression about money, he tore 
the buyurdee" (edict) "in pieces, which gave force to 
that act, and drove his secretaries from his presence 
for having flattered and deceived him. Why, Doctor, 
when he receives a letter from me, if there are half-a- 
dozen others at the same time, he will let them lie on 


his sofa whilst he reads mine, and then will put that 
alone in his pocket, and take it into his harym to read 
it over again." 

Lady Hester's happiest time was, perhaps, that spent 
in smoking and talking, as she sat on her sofa in her 
parlour, as the doctor calls it. This, another bare, \ 
scarcely furnished apartment, also looking into the 
garden, and divided from her bedroom by an open 
divan, was her reception room for visitors. Here they 
perforce remained, hour after hour, listening to a 
conversation which it seemed impossible should ever 
come to an end. She herself was never tired, and 
never thought it possible' they could have heard enough. 
Mr. Way, the missionary, was with her from three 
o'clock in the afternoon till daybreak the next morning ; 
and one unfortunate gentleman, whose name is not 
given, actually fainted away " from fatigue and con- 
straint." The doctor himself declares he has sat with 
her for eight, nine, ten, and even as much as twelve or 
thirteen hours at a stretch. " It may be alleged that 
nothing was more easy than to find excuses for break- 
ing up a conversation ; but it was not so for her 
words ran on in such an uninterrupted stream that one 
never could seize a moment to make a pause." He 
may well speak of her " unexampled colloquial powers," 
for it seemed to be not only a delight, but a positive 
necessity for her to talk. Her language, he tells us, 
was " lofty and sublime," or " full of pathos and feeling," 
according to the emotions she wished to excite ; and 
she had an alarming facility for discerning the character 
of her listeners. 

" There was no secret of the human heart, however 
carefully concealed, that she could not discover ; no 
workings in the listener's mind that she could not 
penetrate ; no intrigue, from the low cunning of vulgar 
intrigue to the vast combinations of politics, that she 
could not unravel ; no labyrinth, however tortuous, 
that she would not thread. 

" It was this comprehensiveness and searching 
faculty, this intuitive penetration, which made her so 

1823-1830] DJOUN 271 

formidable; for, under imaginary names, when she 
wished to show a person that his character and course 
of life were unmasked to her view, she would, in his 
very presence, paint him such a picture of himself, in 
drawing the portrait of another, that you might see 
the individual writhing on his chair, unable to conceal 
the effect her words had on his conscience. . . . She 
once told me a pathetic history of a faithful servant, 
who, in the pecuniary distresses of his master, served 
him for several years with the purest disinterestedness. 
I was so touched by her eloquent and forcible manner 
of recounting the story, and with the self-application 
that I made of it to my own tardiness in going to her 
in her distress, together with my intention of leaving 
her owing to our recent differences, that I burst into 
tears and wept, as the expression is, bitterly." 

No wonder the doctor felt that to spend a couple 
of hours with her was to go to school, even while 
mentally appraising the market value of what he had 
heard. It was chiefly during his last and longest 
visit that he got together a store of anecdotes for his 
three volumes of " Memoirs." 



As soon as the doctor's family were comfortably settled 
in their cottage, Mrs. Meryon came, by appointment, to 
pay her first visit to Lady Hester. She was received 
with the greatest possible kindness, remained for three 
hours, and, as she was going away, Lady Hester sent 
for a handsome Turkish jacket of gold brocade, put it 
on her with her own hands, and wound round her 
head a beautifully embroidered muslin turban. This 
was the Eastern method of doing honour to departing 
guests, by robing them when they took their leave. 
Mrs. Meryon, who knew nothing of the custom, took 
off the jacket and turban, and laid them down on the 
table without a word. The doctor, having lived so 
long in the country, might, one would think, have 
warned her that this would infallibly be considered a 
grievous insult and offence ; and even in the West, 
such a way of refusing a present might scarcely be 
considered gracious. However, the things were sent 
to her next day ; Lady Hester took no notice, and all 
went well for about a month. 

A serious cause of quarrel then arose. The Pacha 
of Damascus, hearing of her physician's return, desired 
Ahmed Bey to write and ask Lady Hester to send him 
to see a friend of his, one Hassan Effendi, who was 
painfully afflicted in his mouth, which was " a source of 
deep regret to the faithful, as he was one of the most 
distinguished chanters of the Koran." Ahmed Bey 
was a very old friend of Lady Hester's, and an impor- 
tant personage, who had " taken particular notice " of 
the doctor several years before. Lady Hester was 
keen that he should at once start for Damascus ; but 


1830-1838] QUARREL WITH DR. MERYON 273 

ie himself was far from anxious to cross the Lebanon, 
then deep in snow, at such a season ; and Mrs. Meryon 
strongly objected to being left alone, as she was 
1 totally new to the country, and had not a soul to talk 
;o." True, M. Chasseaud and his wife were living 
close by ; but still, an utter stranger, and unacquainted 
with the language, as she was, it is not surprising that 
she should have been reluctant to part with her husband, 
even for a week or two. Lady Hester, however, confi- 
dently undertook to convince her that she ought to let 
lim go. She sent for her, and exerted all her powers 
of eloquence in urging every argument she could think 
of, to win her consent. But she had met her match. 
Mrs. Meryon " lent a civil but incredulous ear " to all 
she had to say we may be sure it was a good deal 
and remained inflexible, ending, as she had begun, " If 
my husband goes, it will make me miserable." 

Lady Hester, unaccustomed to be thwarted, was 
exceedingly angry and annoyed, but did not yet 
consider herself beaten. She allowed a few days to 
elapse, and then sent a message to the doctor, desiring 
him to write her word whether he had overcome Mrs. 
Meryon's scruples. He sent a letter of excuse, declin- 
ing to go, and the next morning, as he and his wife 
were at breakfast, the girl Fatoom rushed in, and began 
abusing them both for having been insolent to her 
Lady, and caused her to fall ill. Mrs. Meryon, though 
she did not understand a word the girl said, was quite 
equal to the occasion ; she took Fatoom by the shoulders 
and turned her out of the room. Nearly a week now 
passed without further tidings from Djoun ; then Lady 
Hester again sent for the doctor, and had a stormy 
interview with him in the presence of M. Chasseaud, 
which ended in his declaring he would take his family 
back to Europe, and only regretted he had come so far 
to so little purpose. Lady Hester raised no objection. 
" I have given," she said, " a good deal of advice to 
many persons in whom I have taken an interest, and 
you are the last of my disciples whom I thought I 
could make something of. But it is like cutting the 
hair off the legs of half-bred horses ; it grows again, 
and you may often get a kick in the face for your pains. 
You know what a good opinion they had of you in this 
country, which I kept up ; but your conduct now has 
spoiled all; for when a man gives his beard to a 


woman, it is all over with him. Remember my words, 
and write them down." She made, however, one last 
attempt to induce him to change his mind. She pointed 
out to him the description Ahmed Bey gave of Hassan 
Effendi's malady, " His chest is without pain, and so is 
his throat, and the complaint seems to be in his mouth," 
which she interpreted to mean that the great man had 
some communication to make to her, too important to 
be trusted to a letter. But it was all in vain. The 
doctor stood firm to his guns ; to Damascus he would 
not go. 

He had definitely resolved to return to Europe, but 
was obliged to await a remittance from home before he 
could do so, and as this did not arrive till the end of 
March, it was only on April 7th, 1831, that he left 
Djoun. Meanwhile, he and his wife found it no light 
matter to have fallen under the displeasure of the liege 
lady of Djoun ; for they were in a great measure 
boycotted, not only by their neighbours in the village, 
but by their friends at Sayda. Lady Hester herself 
continued to receive the doctor on perfectly friendly 
terms, and provisioned for him the little vessel in which 
he embarked. She further sent him, as a parting gift, 
a chest of almond cake, and another of baklaawy, " of 
all pastry in the world the most delicious," of both of 
which she knew he was particularly fond, together 
with a very fine amber-headed pipe, and a large supply 
of the best Gebely tobacco, from her own private store. 

Before leaving, he had recommended to her as a 
servant a young Italian, named Lunardi, " a very 
excellent young man," who had lived with Mr. Webb 
at Leghorn. Lunardi was accordingly sent for, came 
to Djoun, and remained for a long time in her service. 
He clubbed himself a doctor, though he knew nothing 
of medicine ; a practice, Dr. Meryon plaintively adds, 
not unfrequent in the Levant. 

The next mention of Lady Hester occurs in the 
following year a year memorable in Syrian annals, 
for it witnessed the invasion of an Egyptian army 
under Ibrahim Pacha, and the siege and capture of 
Acre. On this occasion (in September, 1832) a poet 
appears on the scene. M. de Lamartine, with his 
family and some friends, had established himself at 
Beyrout, and the news of his arrival was, as he assures 
us, already spread abroad all over the country. He 

1830-1838] DJOUN 275 

icard a great deal about Lady Hester ; how she had 

>een wrecked on the coast of Caramania, and lost an 

mmense treasure in gold and jewels ; how she had 

then returned to England, sold all her domains, 

chartered another vessel with what remained of her 

brtune, settled in Syria, and become a great power in 

the Lebanon. She was now impoverished, and her 

authority on the wane ; but still he felt that a recom- 

mendation from her would be of great service to him 

among the Arab tribes he was about to visit. He 

accordingly proposed to go and see her, though warned 

she was not fond of European visitors, and wrote as 

bllows : 

" MILADY, Voyageur comme vous, etranger comme 
vous dans 1'Orient ; l n'y venant chercher comme vous 
que le spectacle de sa nature, de ses ruines et des 
Deuvres de Dieu, je viens d'arriver en Syrie avec ma 
amille. Je compterais au nombre des jours les plus 
nteressants de mon voyage celui oil j'aurais connu une 
emme qui est elle-meme une des merveilles de cet 
Orient que je viens visiter. 

" Si vous voulez bien me recevoir, faites-moi dire le 
our qui vous conviendra, et faites-moi savoir si je dois 
aller seul, ou si je puis vous mener quelques-uns de 
mes amis qui m'accompagnent et qui n'attacheraient 
)as moins de prix que moimeme a 1'honneur de vous 
*tre presentes. 

" Que cette demande, milady, ne contraigne en rien 
yotre politesse a m'accorder ce qui repugnerait a vos 
habitudes de retraite absolue. Je comprends trop bien 
moi-meme le prix de la liberte et le charme de la 
solitude pour ne pas comprendre votre refus et le 

The answer came promptly. On September 
Lady Hester's " equerry and physician, Dr. Leonardi " 

1 Note that she had then been living in the East for more than 
twenty years. 

276 M. DE LAMARTINE [CH. vn 

(Lunardi, promoted by brevet rank), arrived to conduct 
him to her presence, and the same afternoon he and 
his friend Amedee de Parseval, started on their journey 
to Djoun. 

" At seven in the morning, under an already devour- 
ing sun, we left Sayda, the ancient Sidon, that projects 
into the waves like a glorious memory of past dominion, 
and began to climb rugged, bare, calcined heights, 
which, rising tier above tier, led to the solitude our 
eyes sought for in vain. Each ascent brought another 
and higher one to be accomplished ; mountain was 
locked to mountain like the serried links of a chain, 
divided by deep waterless ravines, sun-bleached, and 
strewn with granite boulders. These mountains are 
absolutely stripped of soil and vegetation. They are 
skeletons that wind and water together have ravaged 
for hundreds of years. At last, from one of these 
rocks, I looked down upon a wider and deeper valley, 
enclosed on all sides by mountains equally majestic 
and less sterile. In the midst of this valley, like a vast 
tower, rose the mountain of Djoun, encircled by rock- 
battlements, which, diminishing towards its summit, 
formed an esplanade some hundreds of roods in breadth, 
bearing a beautiful and graceful crown of verdure. A 
white wall, with a kiosk in one angle, enclosed this 
mass of greenery. Here was Lady Hester's abode. 
The house is not what would be so called in Europe ; 
it is not even a house in the Oriental sense of the 
word, but a quaint, confused assemblage of ten or 
twelve little buildings, each containing one or two 
rooms on the ground-floor, without windows, and 
divided one from the other by small courts and gardens ; 
exactly similar in aspect to some of the poorer convents 
one meets with in the mountains of Spain and Italy, 
belonging to the Mendicant Orders. We were each 

I 1830-1838] DJOUN 277 

I conducted into a kind of narrow cell, without light, and 

I without furniture. According to her usual habits, 

Lady Hester was not visible till three or four o'clock 

in the afternoon. Breakfast was served, and we then 

! threw ourselves down on the divan to await the 

\ summons of the invisible mistress of this romantic 

abode. I was asleep, when, at three o'clock, some one 

knocked at my door to announce that she expected 

me ; I passed through a court, a garden, an open kiosk 

trellised with jasmine, then two or three dark corridors, 

and was introduced by a little negro boy, six or eight 

years old, into Lady Hester's room. So profound was 

the darkness that pervaded it, I had some difficulty in 

discerning the noble, grave, gentle, majestic features 

of the white-robed figure in Oriental dress which rose 

from the divan, and advanced with outstretched hand. 

Lady Hester appears to be fifty ; she has features that 

years cannot alter. Freshness, colour, and grace depart 

with our youth ; but when the beauty is in the form, 

the purity of outline, the dignity, the majesty, and the 

thought expressed in the face of a man or of a woman, 

it may change with the different periods of life, but is 

never lost. Such is Lady Stanhope's. She wore a 

white turban, with a narrow band of purple woollen 

wound round the front, the ends falling on either side 

down to her shoulders. A long yellow Cashmere 

shawl, and a voluminous Turkish robe of white silk 

with flowing sleeves, draped her figure in simple and 

majestic folds ; and it was only through an opening 

this first tunic left at the chest that one perceived an 

under-garment of flowered Persian silk reaching to the 

throat, and there fastened by a pearl brooch. Turkish 

boots of yellow morocco embroidered in silk completed 

this beautiful Oriental costume, which she wore with 

the grace and freedom of a person who had worn 


nothing else from her earliest years." Voyage en 
Orient, vol. i. 

His account of the interviews that followed fills 
eighteen pages of very small print, and was sub- 
sequently described by Lady Hester as "half of it 
invention, and the other half incorrect" (see p. 381). 
One error at least is self-evident. She who liked 
holding forth alone, would never have suffered him 
to indulge in the lengthy tirades and disquisitions of 
which he gives so eloquent a report. They would 
have been very summarily cut short. I must perforce 
do the same, as I have no room for them, and can 
only furnish extracts of this interminable dialogue. 

" ' You have come a long way to visit a hermit,' 
she began ; ' be welcome. I see very few strangers- 
one or two, perhaps, in the course of the year ; but 
your letter pleased me, and I wished to make 
acquaintance with a person who, like myself, loves 
God, Nature, and solitude. Something, besides, told 
me that our stars were friendly, and that we should 
agree. I am glad to find that my presentiment has 
not deceived me. Your features, which I now see, 
the very sound of your footsteps as you came along 
the corridor, have told me I shall not repent of having 
wished to see you. Sit down, and let us talk. We 
are already friends.' ' How, Milady, can you so 
quickly honour with the name of friend a man whose 
name and life are entirely unknown to you? You 
can have no idea who I am.' " 

This was tentative on the part of the poet, but the 
answer came with blunt frankness : 

" ' That's very true. I know nothing of what you 
are, according to the world, nor what you have done 
since you lived among your fellow-men, but I know 
what you are in the sight of God. Don't think me 

1830-1838] DJOUN 279 

mad, as the world often calls me ; but I can't resist 
the need I feel of opening my heart to you. There 
is a science, lost in your Europe, a science born in 
the East, where it has never perished, and still lives. 
I possess it. I can read the stars. We are all of us 
children of some one of these celestial bodies, that 
presided at our birth, and whose influence, malign or 
otherwise, is imprinted in our eyes, our foreheads, our 
features, the lines of our hands, the shape of our feet, 
in our gestures and in our gait. I have been with you 
but a few minutes, yet I know you as well as if I had 
lived a hundred years in your company. Shall I 
reveal you to yourself? Shall I predict your destiny ? ' 
1 On no account, Milady,' I replied, with a smile, ' I 
don't deny what I don't understand ; it is quite con- 
ceivable that man may be under the influence of 
planets or angels, but I need no revelation to know 
what I am corruption, infirmity, and misery! As 
to my destiny, I should consider it a profanation of 
the Divinity that conceals it, if I enquired into it 
of one of His creatures. As regards the future, I 
believe only in God, liberty, and virtue.' 'Never 
mind,' she said, 'believe what you please; you are 
evidently born under three happy, powerful, and 
benign stars, which have endowed you with ana- 
logous qualities, and will lead you on to an end, 
that I might, if you chose, indicate to you to-day. 
God has sent you here to enlighten your soul. You 
are one of the men with aspirations and good will 
that He requires as His instruments in the miraculous 
works He is about to accomplish in this world. Do 
you believe that the reign of the Messiah has come ? ' 
' I was born a Christian,' I said ; ' that is my answer.' 
1 A Christian ? so am I ! ' she replied, rather peevishly ; 
' but has not He, whom you call Christ, said I speak 


to you in parables, but one who cometh after Me will 
speak to you in spirit and in truth. That is the 
Messiah who is yet to come, the Messiah whom we 
expect, whom we shall see with our own eyes, and 
for whose advent everything in this world is making 
ready. What will you answer? How will you ex- 
plain or distort the words I have quoted from your 
Gospel? What are your motives for believing in 
Christ ?' ' Permit me, Milady,' I replied, ' not to enter 
into a discussion of this kind.' " 

Nevertheless, he does enter upon it at considerable 
length, giving his reasons for professing the Christian 
faith, during which Lady Hester's " eyes were veiled 
with a little displeasure." But when he cordially 
agreed with her as to the moral depravity of the 
social world, and its urgent need ol regeneration, 
they were 

" Alight with tenderness, and an almost supernatural 
lustre. ' Believe what you like,' she repeated, ' you 
are none the less one of the men I have been expect- 
ing, sent to me by Providence, who have a great part 
to play in the work that is in preparation. . . . One 
of your stars is certainly Mercury, who gives clearness 
and colour to intelligence and to speech. You must 
be a poet; I see it in your eyes and the upper part 
of your face. There is sunlight, too,' she added, 'in 
the poise of your head, and the way that you throw it 
back over your left shoulder. You should thank God. 
There are few men born under more than one star; 
few under a fortunate one; fewer still whose star, 
even if favourable, is not counterbalanced by the 
opposing influence of a hostile star. You, on the 
contrary, have several, all working together in har- 
mony to serve you, and aiding one another on your 
behalf. What is your name ? ' I told her. ' I have 

1830-1838] DJOUN 281 

never heard it!' she replied, in the very accents of 
I truth." 

Here the outraged poet at last spoke out. 

" ' Now you see, Milady, what a poor thing is fame! 
I have written some verses in my life, that have caused 
my name to be repeated a million times in all the 
literary echoes of Europe, yet that echo is too feeble 
to cross your sea and your mountains, and here I am 
a new man, a man completely unknown, whose name 
has never been heard ! ' ' Poet or no poet,' she cried, 
' I like you, and I hope in you ; we shall meet again, 
be sure of that. You will return to the West, but 
will soon come back to the East; it is your home.' 
' At least the home of my imagination/ I replied. ' Do 
not laugh ; I repeat it your true home the home 
of your forefathers. Now I am sure of it. Look at 
your foot ! ' 'I see on it only/ I replied, ' the dust 
of your mountain paths, for which I should have to 
blush in a European reception-room.' ' No ! Nothing 
of the kind ! It is not that ! Look at your foot ! ' 
(I had never noticed it myself)- ' The instep is very 
high ; and when your foot rests on the ground, there 
is sufficient space between the heel and the toes for 
water to flow through without wetting it. That is 
the foot of the Arab ; the foot of the East. You are 
a son of these climes, and the time is fast drawing 
near when every one will return to the home of his 
ancestors. We shall meet again.' Here a black slave 
appeared, and touching the ground with his forehead, 
while holding his hands over his head, said a few 
words in Arabic. 'Go/ she said, 'your dinner is 
ready ; but come back to me soon. I will occupy 
myself with your horoscope meanwhile I myself eat 
with no one. I live too frugally, a little bread and 


fruit, whenever I feel the need of food, is sufficient 
for me ; I must not bind a guest to my own regime' " 

She hardly, however, gave him and his friend time 
to eat before she sent for him again. He found her 
smoking a narghileh ; she offered him another ; and 
they sat and talked a long time 

"Always on the favourite subject the one mysterious 
theme of this extraordinary woman, this modern 
magician, so exactly recalling the magicians of an- 
tiquity Circe of the deserts ! It appeared to me that 
the religious opinions of Lady Hester were a clever 
but confused blending of the different religions in 
whose midst she had condemned herself to live; 
mysterious, like the Druses, of whose mystic secret 
she, perhaps alone in this world, holds the key; 
resigned, like the Mussulman ; a fatalist, like him ; 
expecting the Messiah, like the Jew ; worshipping 
Christ, like the Christian, and practising His rule 
of charity and morality. Add to this the fantastic 
colouring and supernatural dreams of an imagination 
imbued with the East, and heated by solitude and 
meditation ; a few revelations, perhaps, made by Arab 
astrologers, and you will have gained some idea of 
the mixture of sublimity and oddity which it is more 
easy to call madness than to attempt to analyse and 
comprehend. No ! this woman is not mad. Madness, 
always too evidently manifest in the eyes, is not 
visible in hers; their expression is clear and noble; 
madness, betrayed in conversation by the sudden, 
disjointed, eccentric breaks that interrupt it, is never 
perceptible in Lady Hester's discourse ; it is lofty, 
mystic, and nebulous, but well sustained, connected, 
and forcible. If I had to pronounce an opinion, I 
should say it was a voluntary and simulated madness, 

[830-1838] DJOUN 283 

that was perfectly self-conscious, and assumed for 

reasons of its own. The power for admiration which 

icr genius has exercised, and still exercises, over the 

irab population of these mountains, sufficiently proves 

jthat this pretended insanity is only the means to an 
end. The men of this land of miracles, these sons 
of the rocks and deserts, whose imagination is more 

[vivid and fertile than their horizons of sand and sea, 

irequire the words of Mahomet or of Lady Stanhope! 

I they require the language of the stars, the pro- 
phecies, the miracles, the second sight of genius! 
Lady Stanhope understood this; first by the far- 
reaching scope of her really superior intellect; and 
then, perhaps, like all those endowed with great 
mental powers, she has ended by seducing herself, 
and become the first neophyte of the symbol she 
created for others. This is the impression she made 
upon me." 

He adds that he would not be surprised to see part 
of the destiny she foretold for herself accomplished 
11 an empire in Arabia, a throne in Jerusalem." Lady 
Hester again repeated that Destiny was irresistible. 

" ' My strength is in that. I await it ; I do not call 
for it. I am growing old; I have diminished my 
fortune. I am left alone, abandoned on this desert 
rock, a prey to the first audacious vagabond that 
may break open my gates; surrounded by a troop 
of faithless servants and ungrateful slaves, who daily 
plunder me, and sometimes threaten my life. Only 
the other day I owed my safety to the dagger I used 
to defend my breast against a black slave I had brought 
up. Well ! in the midst of all these tribulations I am 
happy ; I answer everything with the sacred words 
of the Mussulman, Allah Kerim! God's will! and I 


await with confidence the future that I have announced 
to you.' " 

Coffee was brought in by a black slave every 
quarter of an hour. After they had smoked several 
pipes, Lady Hester rose. 

" ' Come,' she said, ' I will show you a sanctuary 

which I allow no profane person to enter my 

garden ! ' We descended into it by a flight of steps ; 

and I followed her, in a perfect state of enchantment, 

through one of the most beautiful Turkish gardens I 

had yet seen in the East. Trellises, from whose green 

vaults, like millions of fairy lamps, hung clusters of 

the sparkling grapes of the Promised Land ; kiosks 

and sculptured arabesques, interlaced with jasmine 

and other climbing plants, natives of Asia ; marble 

basins, where the water (artificially conveyed, it is 

true) comes from the distance of a league to murmur 

and play in fountains; alleys planted with all the 

fruit trees of England, of Europe, and of these 

beauteous climes ; green lawns studded with 

flowering shrubs ; marble borders enclosing masses 

of flowers, which I never saw before such is this 

garden ! We rested alternately in some of the kiosks 

that adorned it, and never once did Lady Hester's 

never-failing flow of conversation lose its lofty and 

mystic tone. . . . ' Now,' she said at last, ' I will show 

you a prodigy of Nature, of which the destination is 

known only to me and my adepts. Eastern prophecies 

have announced it for many centuries, and now you 

shall judge for yourself whether these prophecies are 

accomplished.' She opened a door, and we entered a 

small court, in which I perceived two Arab mares of 

the purest breed, and greatest perfection of form. 

1 Look,' she continued, ' at this bay mare. See if 

1830-1838] DJOUN 285 

Nature has not fulfilled in her all that is written of 
the mare that is to carry the Messiah : She will be born 
saddled! I saw, as she said, in this fine animal a 
freak of Nature sufficiently uncommon to excite the 
credulity of a semi-barbarous people. She had a 
broad deep cavity behind her shoulders, so exactly in 
the form of a Turkish saddle, that she might in truth 
be said to be born saddled, and that, but for the want 
of stirrups, she might easily have been ridden without 
one. This magnificent mare seemed accustomed to 
the admiration and respect with which Lady Stanhope 
and her slaves treated her, and to have a foreboding 
of the dignity of her mission ; no one has ever ridden 
her, and two black Arab grooms are in constant 
attendance, never losing sight of her for a single 
moment. Another mare snow-white, and in my 
opinion far handsomer shares with the mare of the 
Messiah the respect and care of Lady Stanhope. She, 
too, has never been ridden. Lady Stanhope did not 
tell me, but gave me to understand that this mare, 
though less sacred, had still a mysterious and im- 
portant mission to fulfil, and I thought I perceived 
that Lady Hester reserved her for her own use on the 
day she made her entry, by the Messiah's side, into 
re-conquered Jerusalem." 

Lady Hester was now, after much persuasion, 
induced to receive M. de Parseval, who had been 
waiting for admission since the morning ; and they all 
three returned to the same room, and smoked and 
talked the greater part of the night. So dense 
became the clouds of smoke that Lady Hester 
appeared " seen through an atmosphere similar to the 
atmosphere of invocations." On this occasion he 
recounts chiefly his own share in the conversation 
far greater than I should imagine she would have 
permitted him to engross ; among other things ex- 
plaining, at some length, why he was neither an 


aristocrat nor a democrat. " Well, well ! let it be ! " 
cried Lady Hester, when he had done ; "let me believe 
you are an aristocrat, like myself; not one of those 
young Frenchmen who raise the froth of popular 
excitement against every institution ordained by God, 
Nature, or society, and throw down the edifice, that 
they may erect from its ruins a pedestal for their own 
envious baseness." Then they talked politics. 

" ' I have done with politics,' she declared ; ' I saw 
enough of them during the ten (!) years I spent with 
my uncle, Mr. Pitt, when all the intrigues of Europe 
were at work around me. I despised humanity when 
I was young ; I won't hear it spoken of now. All that 
men do for other men is fruitless ; forms and methods 
are indifferent to me. Goa and virtue are the 
foundation of all.' . . . "Turning to lighter subjects, 
and jesting on the kind of divination which enabled 
her to discern men's characters at first sight by means 
of their star, I put this power to the test, and 
questioned her as to two or three travellers of my 
acquaintance that had passed under her notice during 
the last fifteen years. I was struck by the extreme 
correctness of her impressions in the case of two of 
these men. She analysed, with wonderful perspicacity 
and intelligence, the character of one of them ; a 
character difficult to understand at first sight ; of great 
strength, veiled by an appearance of the simplest and 
most engaging geniality ; and what put the climax to 
my astonishment and most impressed me with ad- 
miration of this woman's inflexible memory, was that 
this traveller had only been with her for two hours, 
and that sixteen years had elapsed from the time of 
his visit when I enquired of her about him. Silence 
concentrates and strengthens all the faculties of the 
soul. Prophets, saints, great men, and poets, have all 
marvellously apprehended this, and their instinct has 

1830-1838] DJOUN 287 

led them to seek the desert, or isolation from their 

" The name of Bonaparte occurred, as it usually 
does, in conversation. ' I thought,' I said, ' that your 
fanaticism for that man would be a barrier between 
us.' 'I was only a fanatic,' she replied, ' in regard to 
his misfortunes, and my pity for him.' . . . Thus the 
night wore away in free discussion, without the least 
affectation on Lady Hester's part, of any subjects that 
suggested themselves in a desultory conversation. 
I felt that no chord was wanting in that powerful and 
lofty intellect, and that every note of the instrument 
sounded true, full, and clear except, perhaps, the 
chord of metaphysics, which solitude and too high a 
tension had falsified or raised to a pitch beyond the 
sphere of human intelligence. We separated with 
regrets, very sincere on my part, and obligingly 
expressed on hers. ' No farewell,' she said ; ' we 
shall often meet again in your travels, and other 
travels that you do not yet even contemplate. Go 
and rest, and remember that you have a friend in the 
solitudes of the Lebanon.' She gave me her hand ; I 
pressed mine to my heart, in Arab fashion, and we 

Lady Hester appears to have been greatly amused 
by Lamartine's little affectations and peculiarities, for 
she often recurred to them, especially to his way of 
calling her attention to his foot. " He pointed his 
toes in my face," she declared, " and then turned to 
his dog and kissed him, and held long conversations 
with him. He thought to make a great effect when he 
was here, but he was grievously mistaken. I gave him 
a letter to Abu Ghosh, who received him very well ; 
but when he talked about himself, and made out that 
he was a great man, Abu Ghosh said it was for my 
sake, and not for his own, that he showed him as 
much honour as he could. . . . Think of him, getting 


off his horse half-a-dozen times to kiss his dog, and 
take him out of his bandbox to feed him, on the road 
from Beyrout here ; the very muleteers and servants 
thought him a fool." She had, as will presently 
appear (see p. 383), indulged herself by making a little 
fun of him. 

Djoun was at this time crowded with fugitives from 
Acre. Lady Hester's hospitable gates were thrown 
open to all, and within them alone security was to be 
found ; for the whole country was terrorised by 
Ibrahim Pacha. Among those she harboured were 
some whose lives were forfeit, and he peremptorily 
demanded their surrender. But he blustered and 
threatened in vain. She sent him word that he must 
take her own life first, for as long as the breath was 
in her body the poor people that had sought her 
protection should remain unmolested under her 

" After the siege of Acre," she writes (the letter is 
undated and without address, but must, I think, have 
been to Lord Hardwicke), "which lasted seven 
months (with an unremitted fire, even during the 
nights), what remained of the wretched population 
fled here. I alone dared to acknowledge them ; even 
the prisoners of the Sultan's army (taken in the 
neighbourhood of Hems and Hamar), when marched 
by Sayda, were dying of thirst neither Turk, 
Christian, nor Frank would give them a glass of 
water, all trembling before Ibrahim Pacha. These 
unhappy people did not come to me, but I sent to 

" In three years my house was like the Tower of 
Babel, filled as well as the village, with unhappy 
people from Acre of all nations ; but, with the blessing 
of God, I got through with it all, and was likewise 
enabled to stand up alone before the attacks of all these 
Pachas and rascally Consuls. By the determination 
and presence of mind which I inherit, I have saved 

1830-1838] DJOUN 289 

many doomed to have their heads cut off; but, in 
order not to commit the English name, I always said, 
1 What I do, I do in my own name.' ... I have 
deprived myself not only of the comforts, but of the 
necessaries of life to relieve these people. I am sure that 
you and Lady H. (granting her her mother's feelings) 
will approve of what I have done. You may recollect 
I told you old Suleiman Pacha treated me as his child. 
Could I then see one of his wives re-married to his 
treasurer come out here literally stripped to her 
shift, and her husband's thighs and legs without skin 
(they had been blown up with gunpowder), her poor 
little naked child, her wretched attendants, her hus- 
band's confidential servant, with both his eyes and 
nose carried off by a ball wandering about among 
persons who were afraid to acknowledge them and 
turned their backs upon them ? One of the Sultanas 
has handsomely provided for this woman and her 
children (for she increased her family while here) at 
Constantinople. Another, one of the most respectable 
families of Acre, composed of eighteen persons, being 
all orphans and widows, without anybody to help 
them except one poor boy of about fifteen, who had 
nearly become idiotic from fright ; wounded Mame- 
lukes and their families ; orphans and widows without 
any resource whatever ; soldiers of all nations, some 
wounded and some half naked. Look at the accuracy 
of M. Lamartine ! I had seventy-five of them here at 
the time that he paid me a visit, but I kept them out of 
his sight (for his sentiment is all in his pen and not in 
his heart). . . . Many of these people I have sent to 
their country, others have been employed, and others 
are all less or well provided for at this moment, thank 
God ! I went through fatigue enough to kill a boats- 
wain ; but whatever sacrifices I may have made of 


2 9 o THE REFORM BILL [CH. vn 

money or health, I do not regret it. I should do the 
same thing to-morrow, if circumstances called for 
these exertions, in opposition to every one, and 
certainly the broad-bottomed family " (Grenvilles) 
" can have no right to blame me. What they did for 
the King of France, 1 and those that surrounded him, I 
have done in my humble way, not for Abdalla Pacha 
alone, as the world believes, but for humanity. 
Ibrahim Pacha I admire infinitely more, being a 
hero, and having several distinguished qualities ; but 
as the war-agent of a tyrant who has presumed to 
raise his arm against his master, I must be the enemy 
of both, notwithstanding the kindness with which 
Mehemet Ali formerly treated me, and the patience 
Ibrahim Pacha has had with the violence I have often 
demonstrated to his envoys, who never venture a 
second time, for they always send a fresh one." 

Though Lady Hester never read a newspaper, some 
echoes of the Reform Bill agitation in England had 
reached Syria. 

" Had I been in England, and a man, I should have 
fought more duels with Radicals than my cousin, 
Lord Camelford. Every flower that grows upon his 
tomb is a greater hero than they are for the chief 
cause of all their masquerading is fear a fear of the 
future; but it will all be of none avail. There are 
few men more proud of their situations than many of 
them are, or less willing to give up the advantages 
arising from them. Were they raised to their situa- 
tions by their own distinguished merits, or by the 
favour of those whom they affect to despise, or, at 

1 " The father of this Duke of Buckingham," she says in another 
letter, " spent for the Bourbons, all the time they were in England, 
,25,000 a year.' 1 

1830-1838] DJOUN 291 

least, treat without respect? Enfin, I shall shortly 
expect to hear that some boatswain has given his 
Captain a box on the ear, and that thanks have been 
voted to him by the House of Commons." 

We now come to the fascinating chapter in " Eothen " 
that describes Mr. Kinglake's visit to Djoun. His 
mother had known Lady Hester, in her old Somerset- 
shire days, as " the intrepid girl that had been used 
to break in her friends' vicious horses for them," now, 
by a strange revulsion of fortune, " reigning in sove- 
reignty over the wandering tribes of Western Asia ! 
... I never," he says, "had heard, nor indeed, I 
believe, had the rest of the world ever heard, anything 
like a certain account of the heroine's adventures, all 
I knew was, that in one of the drawers, the delight 
of my childhood, there were letters carefully treasured, 
and trifling presents, which I was taught to think 
valuable because they came from the Queen of the 
Desert a Queen who dwelt in tents and reigned over 
wandering Arabs." 

When he arrived at Beyrout he "felt at once that 
my mother would be sorry to hear that I had been 
within a day's ride of her old friend without offering 
to see her, and I therefore despatched a letter to the 
recluse, mentioning the maiden name of my mother 
(whose marriage was subsequent to Lady Hester's 
departure), and saying that if there existed on the part 
of her Ladyship any wish to hear of her old Somerset- 
shire acquaintance, I should make a point of calling 
upon her." 

The answer was a very kind invitation, brought by 
Lunardi, who, with another man on horseback, both 
of them covered with mud, "suddenly dashed into the 
court of the little locanda where I was staying, bearing 
themselves as ostentatiously as though they were 
carrying a cartel from the devil to the angel Michael." 
He named a day for his visit, but after all, " did not 
start at the time fixed. Whilst still remaining at 
Beyrout, I received another letter from Lady Hester ; 
this I will give you, for it shows that whatever the 
eccentricities of the writer may have been, she could 
at least be thoughtful and courteous : 

292 MR. KINGLAKE [CH. vn 

" ' SIR, I hope I shall be disappointed in seeing 
you on Wednesday, for the late rains have rendered 
the river Damoor, if not dangerous, at least very un- 
pleasant to pass for a person who has been lately 
indisposed, for, if the animal swims, you would be 
immerged in the waters. The weather will probably 
change after the 2ist of the moon, and after a couple 
of days the roads and the river will be passable ; there- 
fore, I shall expect you either Saturday or Monday. 

" ' It will be a great satisfaction to me to have an 
opportunity of inquiring after your mother, who was 
a sweet, lovely girl when I knew her. 
" ' Believe me, Sir, 

" ' Yours sincerely, 


" Early one morning I started from Beyrout. ... 1 
left Sai'de (the Sidon of ancient times) on my right, 
and about an hour, I think, before sunset, began to 
ascend one of the many low hills of Lebanon. On 
the summit before me was a broad grey mass of 
irregular building, which, from its position, as well as 
from the gloomy blankness of its walls, gave the idea 
of a neglected fortress ; it had, in fact, been a convent 
of great size, and, like most of the religious houses in 
this part of the world, had been made strong enough 
for opposing an inert resistance to any mere casual 
band of assailants who might be unprovided with 
regular means of attack ; this was the dwelling-place 
of Chatham's fiery grand-daughter. 

" The aspect of the first court I entered was such as 
to keep one in the idea of having to do with a for- 
tress, rather than a mere peaceable dwelling-place. A 
number of fierce-looking and ill-clad Albanian soldiers 
were hanging about the place inert, and striving, as 

1830-1838] DJOUN 293 

well as they could, to bear the curse oi tranquillity ; 
two or three of them were smoking their tchibouques, 
but the rest were lying torpidly upon the flat stones, 
like the bodies of departed brigands. I rode on to an 
inner part of the building, and at last, quitting my 
horse, was conducted through a doorway that led me 
at once from an open court into an apartment on the 
ground-floor. As I entered, an Oriental figure in male 
costume approached me from the further end of the 
room, with many and profound bows ; but the growing 
shades of evening prevented me from distinguishing 
the features of the personage who was receiving me 
with this solemn welcome. I had always, however, 
understood that Lady Hester Stanhope wore the male 
attire, and began to utter in English the common 
civilities that seemed to be proper on the commence- 
ment of a visit by an uninspired mortal to a renowned 
prophetess; but the figure which I addressed only 
bowed so much the more, prostrating itself almost to 
the ground, but speaking to me never a word. I 
feebly strived not to be outdone in gestures of respect ; 
but presently my bowing opponent saw the error 
under which I was acting, and suddenly convinced me 
that at all events I was not yet in the presence of a 
superhuman being, by declaring that he was far from 
being ' Miladi,' and was, in fact, nothing more or less 
godlike than the poor doctor who had brought his 
mistress's letter to Beyrout. 

" Lady Hester, in the right spirit of hospitality, now 
sent and commanded me to repose for a while after 
the fatigues of my journey, and to dine. 

" The cuisine was of the Oriental kind highly arti- 
ficial, and, as I thought, very good. I rejoiced, too, in 
the wine of the Lebanon. 

"After dinner the doctor arrived with Miladi's 


compliments, and an intimation that she would be 
happy to receive me if I were so disposed. It had 
now grown dark, and the rain was falling heavily, so 
that I got rather wet in following my guide through 
the open courts that I had to pass in order to reach 
the presence-chamber. At last I was ushered into a 
small chamber, protected from the draughts of air 
passing through the doorway by a folding screen ; 
passing this, I came alongside of a common European 
sofa. There sat the Lady Prophetess. She rose from 
her seat very formally spoke to me a few words of 
welcome, pointed to a chair one already placed 
exactly opposite to her sofa at a couple of yards' 
distance and remained standing up to the full of her 
majestic height, perfectly still and motionless, until I 
had taken my appointed place. She then resumed 
her seat not packing herself up according to the 
mode of the Orientals, but allowing her feet to rest 
on the floor or the footstool ; at the moment of seating 
herself she covered her lap with a mass of loose, white 
drapery. It occurred to me at the time that she did 
this in order to avoid the awkwardness of sitting in 
manifest trousers under the eye of a European ; but I 
can hardly fancy now that, with her wilful nature, she 
would have brooked such a compromise as this. 

"The woman before me had exactly the person of 
a prophetess not, indeed, of the divine sibyl imagined 
by Domenichino, so sweetly distracted betwixt love 
and mystery, but of a good, business-like, practical 
prophetess, long used to the exercise of her sacred 
calling. I have been told by those who knew Lady 
Hester Stanhope in her youth, that any notion of a 
resemblance betwixt her and the great Chatham must 
have been fanciful ; but at the time of my seeing her, 
the large commanding features of the gaunt woman, 

1830-1838] DJOUN 295 

then sixty years old or more, certainly reminded me 
of the statesman that lay dying in the House of Lords, 
according to Copley's picture. Her face was of the 
most astonishing whiteness; she wore a very large 
turban, made seemingly of pale cashmere shawls, and 
so disposed as to conceal the hair ; her dress, from the 
chin down to the point at which it was concealed by 
the drapery on her lap, was a mass of white linen 
loosely folding an ecclesiastical sort of affair more 
like a surplice than any of those blessed creations 
which our souls love under the names of dress, and 
1 frock,' and ' bodice,' and ' collar,' and ' habit-shirt,' and 
sweet 'chemisette.' 

" Such was the outward seeming of the personage 
that sat before me ; and, indeed, she was almost bound, 
by the fame of her actual achievements, as well as by 
her sublime pretensions, to look a little differently 
from the rest of womankind. There had been some- 
thing of grandeur in her career. After the death of 
Lady Chatham, which happened in 1803, she lived 
under the roof of her uncle, the second Pitt, and when 
he resumed the Government in 1804, she became the 
dispenser of much patronage, and sole Secretary of 
State for the department of Treasury banquets. Not 
having seen the lady until late in her life, when she 
was fired with spiritual ambition, I can hardly fancy 
that she could have performed her political duties in 
the saloons of the Minister with much of feminine 
sweetness and patience. I am told, however, that she 
managed matters very well indeed. Perhaps it was 
better for the lofty-minded Leader of the House to 
have his reception-rooms guarded by this stately 
creature than by a merely clever and managing 
woman ; it was fitting that the wholesome awe with 
which he filled the minds of the country gentlemen 

296 KINGLAKE'S " EOTHEN " [CH. vn 

should be aggravated by the presence of his majestic 
niece. But the end was approaching. The sun of 
Austerlitz showed the Czar madly sliding his splendid 
army, like a weaver's shuttle, from his right hand to 
his left, under the very eyes the deep, grey, watchful 
eyes of Napoleon. Before night came the coalition 
was a vain thing meet for history ; and the heart of 
its great author, when the terrible tidings came to 
his ears, was wrung with grief fatal grief. In the 
bitterness of his despair, he cried out to his niece, and 
bid her ' Roll up the map of Europe.' There was a 
little more of suffering, and at last, with his swollen 
tongue (so they say) still muttering something for 
England, he died by the noblest of all sorrows. 

" Lady Hester, meeting the calamity in her own 
fierce way, seems to have scorned the poor island that 
had not enough of God's grace to keep the ' heaven- 
sent ' Minister alive. I can hardly tell why it should 
be, but there is a longing for the East, very commonly 
felt by proud people when goaded by sorrow. Lady 
Hester Stanhope obeyed this impulse; for some time, 
I believe, she was at Constantinople, and there her 
magnificence, as well as her near alliance to the late 
Minister, gained her great influence. Afterwards she 
passed into Syria. The people of that country, excited 
by the achievements of Sir Sidney Smith, had begun 
to imagine the possibility of their land being occupied 
by the English ; and many of them looked upon Lady 
Hester as a princess who came to prepare the way 
for the expected conquest I don't know it from her 
own lips, or, indeed, from any certain authority, but 
I have been told that she began her connection with 
the Bedouins by making a large present of money 
G5oo immense in piastres) to the sheik whose 
authority was recognised in the desert, between 

1830-1838] DJOUN 297 

Damascus and Palmyra. The prestige created by the 
rumours of her high and undefined rank, as well as of 
her wealth and corresponding magnificence, was well 
sustained by her imperious character and her dauntless 
bravery. Her influence increased. I never heard 
anything satisfactory as to the real extent or duration 
of her sway, but I understood that, for a time at least, 
she certainly exercised something like sovereignty 
amongst the wandering tribes. And now that her 
earthly kingdom had passed away, she strove for 
spiritual power, and impiously dared, as it was said, 
to boast some mystic union with the very God of 
very God ! l 

" A couple of black slave-girls came at a signal and 
supplied their mistress, as well as myself, with lighted 
tchibouques and coffee. 

"The custom of the East sanctions, and almost 
commands, some moments of silence whilst you are 
inhaling the first few breaths of the fragrant pipe ; 
the pause was broken, I think, . by my lady, who 
addressed to me some enquiries respecting my mother, 
and particularly as to her marriage ; but before I had 
communicated any great amount of family facts, the 
spirit of the prophetess kindled within her, and 
presently (though with all the skill of a woman of 
the world) she shuffled away the subject of poor, 
dear Somersetshire, and bounded onward into loftier 
spheres of thought. 

11 My old acquaintance with some of ' the twelve ' 
enabled me to bear my part (of course a very humble 
one) in a conversation relative to occult science. 
Milnes once spread a report that every gang of gipsies 
was found, upon inquiry, to have come last from a 

1 This report was a gross calumny. There is no recorded word of 
Lady Hester's that even hints at so monstrous a suggestion. 


place to the westward, and to be about to make the 
next move in an eastern direction ; either, therefore, 
they were to be all gathered together towards the 
rising of the sun by the mysterious finger of Provi- 
dence, or else they were to revolve round the globe 
for ever and ever. Both of these suppositions were 
highly gratifying, because they were both marvellous ; 
and though the story on which they were founded 
plainly sprang from the inventive brain of a poet, no 
one had ever been so odiously statistical as to attempt 
a contradiction of it. I now mentioned the story as 
a report to Lady Hester Stanhope, and asked her it 
it were true. I could not have touched upon any 
imaginable subject more deeply interesting to my 
hearer, more closely akin to her habitual train of 
thinking; she immediately threw off all the restraint 
belonging to an interview with a stranger ; and when 
she had received a few more similar proofs of my 
aptness for the marvellous, she went so far as to say 
that she would adopt me as her eleve in occult science. 

" For hours and hours this wondrous white woman 
poured forth her speech, for the most part concerning 
sacred and profane mysteries; but every now and 
then she would stay her lofty flight and swoop down 
upon the world again ; whenever this happened, I was 
interested in her conversation. 

" She adverted more than once to the period of her 
lost sway amongst the Arabs, and mentioned some of 
the circumstances that aided her in obtaining influence 
with the wandering tribes. The Bedouin, so often 
engaged in irregular warfare, strains his eyes to the 
horizon in search of a coming enemy just as habitually 
as the sailor keeps his ' bright look-out ' for a strange 
sail. In the absence of telescopes, a far-reaching sight 
is highly valued, and Lady Hester had this power. 

1830-1838] DJOUN 299 

She told me that, on one occasion, when there was 
good reason to expect hostilities, a far-seeing Arab 
created great excitement in the camp by declaring 
that he could distinguish some moving objects upon 
the very farthest point within the reach of his eyes. 
Lady Hester was consulted, and she instantly assured 
her comrades in arms that there were indeed a number 
of horses within sight, but they were without riders. 
The assertion proved to be correct, and from that time 
forth her superiority over all others in respect of far 
sight remained undisputed. 

" Lady Hester related to me this other anecdote of 
her Arab life. It was when the heroic qualities of the 
Englishwoman were just beginning to be felt amongst 
the people of the desert, that she was marching one 
day along with the forces of the tribe to which she 
had allied herself. She perceived that preparations 
for an engagement were going on ; and upon her 
making inquiry as to the cause, the sheik at first 
affected mystery and concealment, but at last con- 
fessed that war had been declared against his tribe on 
account of his alliance with the English princess, and 
that they were now unfortunately about to be attacked 
by a very superior force. He made it appear that 
Lady Hester was the sole cause of hostility be- 
twixt his tribe and the impending enemy, and that 
his sacred duty of protecting the Englishwoman whom 
he had admitted as guest, was the only obstacle which 
prevented an amicable settlement of the dispute. The 
sheik hinted that his tribe was likely to sustain an 
almost overwhelming blow, but at the same time 
declared that no fear of the consequences, however 
terrible to him and his whole people, should induce 
him to dream of abandoning his illustrious guest. 
The heroine instantly took her part; it was not for 


her to be a source of danger to her friends, but rather 
to her enemies ; so she resolved to turn away from 
the people, and trust for help to none save only her 
haughty self. The sheiks affected to dissuade her 
from so rash a course, and fairly told her that although 
they (having been freed from her presence) would be 
able to make good terms for themselves, yet that there 
were no means of allaying the hostility felt towards 
her, and that the whole face of the desert would be 
swept by the horsemen of her enemies so carefully, 
as to make her escape into other districts almost im- 
possible. The brave woman was not to be moved by 
terrors of this kind, and bidding farewell to the tribe 
which had honoured and protected her, she turned 
her horse's head and rode straight away, without 
friend or follower. Hours had elapsed, and for some 
time she had been alone in the centre of the round 
horizon, when her quick eye perceived some horsemen 
in the distance. The party came nearer and nearer; 
soon it was plain that they were making towards 
her, and presently some hundreds of Bedouins, fully 
armed, galloped up to her, ferociously shouting, and 
apparently intending to take her life at the instant 
with their pointed spears. Her face at the time was 
covered with the yashmak, according to Eastern 
usage; but at the moment when the foremost of the 
horsemen had all but reached her with their spears, 
she stood up in her stirrups, withdrew the yashmak 
that veiled the terrors of her countenance, waved her 
arm slowly and disdainfully, and cried out with a loud 
voice, ' Avaunt ! ' The horsemen recoiled from her 
glance, but not in terror. The threatening yells of 
the assailants were suddenly changed for loud shouts 
of joy and admiration at the bravery of the stately 
Englishwoman, and festive gun-shots were fired on all 

1830-1838] DJOUN 301 

sides around her honoured head, The truth was that 
the party belonged to the tribe with which she had 
allied herself, and that the threatened attack, as well 
as the pretended apprehension of an engagement, had 
been contrived for the mere purpose of testing her 
courage. The day ended in a great feast, prepared to 
do honour to the heroine ; and from that time her 
power over the minds of the people grew rapidly. 
Lady Hester related this story with great spirit, and 
I recollect that she put up her yashmak for a moment, 
in order to give me a better idea of the effect which 
she produced by suddenly revealing the awfulness of 
her countenance. 

" With respect to her then present mode of life, 
Lady Hester informed me that for her sin she had 
subjected herself during many years to severe 
penance, and that her self-denial had not been 
without its reward. ' Vain and false,' said she, ' is all 
the pretended knowledge of the Europeans ; their 
doctors will tell you that the drinking of milk gives 
yellowness to the complexion. Milk is my only food, 
and you see if my face be not white.' Her abstinence 
from food intellectual was carried as far as her 
physical fasting ; she never, she said, looked upon a 
book nor a newspaper, but trusted alone to the stars 
for her sublime knowledge. She usually passed the 
nights in communing with these heavenly teachers, 
and lay at rest during the daytime. She spoke with 
great contempt of the frivolity and benighted ignor- 
ance of the modern Europeans, and mentioned, in 
proof of this, that they were not only untaught in 
astrology, but were unacquainted with the common 
and everyday phenomena produced by magic art. 
She spoke as if she would make me understand that 
all sorcerous spells were completely at her command, 


but that the exercise of such powers would be 
derogatory to her high rank in the heavenly king- 
dom. She said that the spell by which the face of 
an absent person is thrown upon a mirror was within 
the reach of the humblest and most contemptible 
magicians, but that the practice of suchlike arts was 
unholy as well as vulgar. 

" We spoke of the bending twig by which, it is said, 
precious metals may be discovered. In relation to 
this, the prophetess told me a story rather against 
herself, and inconsistent with the notion of her being 
perfect in her science ; but I think that she mentioned 
the facts as having happened before she attained to 
the great spiritual authority which she now arro- 
gated. She told me that vast treasures were known 
to exist in a situation which she mentioned, if I rightly 
remember, as being near Suez ; that Napoleon, pro- 
fanely brave, thrust his arm into the cave containing 
the coveted gold, and that instantly his flesh became 
palsied. But the youthful hero (for she said he was 
great in his generation) was not to be thus daunted ; 
he fell back characteristically upon his brazen 
resources, and ordered up his artillery. Yet man 
could not strive with demons, and Napoleon was 
foiled. In later years came Ibrahim Pacha, with 
heavy guns, and wicked spells to boot ; but the 
infernal guardians of the treasure were too strong 
for him. It was after this that Lady Hester passed 
by the spot, and she described with animated gesture 
the force and energy with which the divining-twig 
had suddenly leaped in her hands. She ordered 
excavations, and no demons opposed her enterprise. 
The vast chest in which the treasure had been 
deposited was at length discovered, but lo, and 
behold, it was full of pebbles ! She said, however, 

1830-1838] DJOUN 303 

that the times were approaching in which the hidden 
treasures of the earth would become available to those 
who had ' true knowledge.' 

" Speaking of Ibrahim Pacha, Lady Hester said that 
he was a bold, bad man, and was possessed of some of 
those common and wicked magical arts, upon which 
she looked down with so much contempt. She said, 
for instance, that Ibrahim's life was charmed against 
balls and steel, and that after a battle he loosened the 
folds of his shawl, and shook out the bullets like 

" It seems that the St. Simonians once made over- 
tures to Lady Hester. She told me that the Pere 
Enfantin (the chief of the sect) had sent her a service 
of plate, but that she had declined to receive it. She 
delivered a prediction as to the probability of the 
St. Simonians finding the ' mystic mother,' and this 
she did in a way which would amuse you. Unfortu- 
nately, I am not at liberty to mention this part of the 
woman's prophecies ; why, I cannot tell, but so it is, 
that she bound me to eternal secrecy. 

" Lady Hester told me that since her residence at 
Djoun she had been attacked by an illness so severe 
as to render her for a long time perfectly helpless. 
All her attendants fled, and left her to perish. Whilst 
she lay thus alone, and quite unable to rise, robbers 
came and carried away her property. She told me 
that they actually unroofed a great part of the 
building, and employed engines with pulleys for the 
purpose of hoisting out such of her valuables as were 
too bulky to pass through doors. It would seem that 
before this catastrophe Lady Hester had been rich in 
the possession of Eastern luxuries ; for she told me 
that, when the chiefs of the Ottoman force took refuge 
with her after the fall of Acre, they brought their 

304 AN OASIS [CH. vn 

wives also in great numbers. To all of these Lady 
Hester, as she said, presented magnificent dresses, 
but her generosity occasioned strife only instead of 
gratitude, for every woman who fancied her present 
less splendid than that of another, with equal or less 
pretension, became absolutely furious. All these 
audacious guests had now been got rid of; but the 
Albanian soldiers, who had taken refuge with Lady 
Hester at the same time, still remained under her 

" In truth, this half-ruined convent, guarded by the 
proud heart of an English gentlewoman, was the only 
spot throughout all Syria and Palestine in which the 
will of Mehemet Ali and his fierce lieutenant was not 
the law. More than once had the Pacha of Egypt 
commanded that Ibrahim should have the Albanians 
delivered up to him ; but this white woman of the 
mountain (grown classical, not by books, but by very 
pride) answered only with a disdainful invitation to 
'come and take them.' Whether it was that Ibrahim 
was acted upon by any superstitious dread of inter- 
fering with the prophetess (a notion not at all incom- 
patible with his character as an able Oriental 
commander), or that he feared the ridicule of putting 
himself in collision with a gentlewoman, he certainly 
never ventured to attack the sanctuary ; and so long 
as Chatham's grand-daughter breathed a breath of life, 
there was always this one hillock, and that, too, in 
the midst of a most populous district, which stood 
out, and kept its freedom. Mehemet Ali used to say, 
I am told, that the Englishwoman had given him 
more trouble than all the insurgent people of Syria 
and Palestine. 

"The prophetess announced to me that we were 
upon the eve of a stupendous convulsion which would 

11830-1838] A PROPHECY FULFILLED 305 

{destroy the then recognised value of all property upon 
[earth ; and, declaring that those only who should be 
Jin the East at the time of the great change could hope 
[for greatness in the new life that was then close at 
ihand, she advised me, whilst there was yet time, to 
jdispose of my property in poor, frail England, and 
?gain a station in Asia. She told me that, after leaving 
'her, I should go into Egypt, but that in a little while 
{I should return into Syria. I secretly smiled at this 
last prophecy as a ' bad shot,' because I had fully 
'determined, after visiting the Pyramids, to take ship 
Ifrom Alexandria for Greece. But men struggle 
[vainly in the meshes of their destiny ! The unbelieved 
jCassandra was right, after all. The plague came, and 
^the necessity of avoiding the quarantine detention, to 
[which I should have been subjected if I had sailed 
from Alexandria, forced me to alter my route. I went 
id own into Egypt, and stayed there for a time, and 
then crossed the desert once more, and came back to the 
mountains of the Lebanon, exactly as the prophetess 
had foretold. 

" Lady Hester talked to me long and earnestly on 
the subject of religion, announcing that the Messiah 
[was yet to come. She strived to impress me with the 
i vanity and falseness of all European creeds, as well as 
with a sense of her own spiritual greatness. Through- 
out her conversation upon these high topics, she 
carefully insinuated, without actually asserting, her 
heavenly rank. 

" Amongst other much more marvellous powers, the 
lady claimed one which most women have more or 
less namely, that of reading men's characters in their 
faces. She examined the line of my features very 
attentively, and told me the result : this, however, I 
mean to keep hidden. 



" One favoured subject of discourse was that of 
' race ' ; upon this she was very diffuse, and yet 
rather mysterious. She set great value upon the 
ancient French, not Norman blood (for that she vilified), 
but professed to despise our English notion of ' a ! n old 
family.' She had a vast idea of the Cornish miners, on 
account of their race, and said, if she chose, she could 
give me the means of rousing them to the most 
tremendous enthusiasm. 

" Such are the topics on which the lady mainly 
conversed ; but very often she would descend to moi 
worldly chat, and then she was no longer the prc 
phetess, but the sort of woman that you sometimes see, 
I am told, in London drawing-roomscool, decisive 
in manner, unsparing of enemies, full of audacious fun, 
and saying the downright things that the sheepish 
society around her is afraid to utter. 1 am told that 
Lady Hester was, in her youth, a capital mimic, and 
she showed me that not all the queenly dulness to 
which she had condemned herself not all her fasting 
and solitude had destroyed this terrible power. The 
first whom she crucified in my presence was poor 
Lord Byron. She had seen him, it appeared, 1 know 
not where, soon after his arrival in the East, and was 
vastly amused at his little affectations. He had picked 
up a few sentences of the Romaic, and with these he 
affected to give orders to his Greek servant in a ton 
cf apameibomenos style. I can't tell you whether Lady 
Hester's mimicry of the bard was at all close, but it 
was amusing ; she attributed to him a curiously cox- 
comical lisp. 

"Another person, whose style of speaking the lady 
took off very amusingly, was one who would scarcely 
object to suffer by the side of Lord Byron I mean 
Lamartine. The peculiarity which attracted her ridi- 


cule was an over-refinement of manner. According 
to my lady's imitation of Lamartine (I have never 
seen him myself), he had none of the violent grimace 
of his countrymen, and not even their usual way of 
talking, but rather bore himself mincingly, like the 
humbler sort of English dandy. 

" Lady Hester seems to have heartily despised 
everything approaching to exquisiteness. She told me, 
by-the-bye (and her opinion upon that subject is worth 
having), that a downright manner, amounting even to 
brusqueness, is more effective than any other with 
the Oriental; and that amongst the English, of all 
ranks and all classes, there is no man so attractive 
to the Orientals no man who can negotiate with 
them half so effectively as a good, honest, open- 
hearted, and positive naval officer of the old school. 

" 1 have told you, I think, that Lady Hester could 
deal fiercely with those she hated. One man above all 
others (he is now uprooted from society) she blasted 
with her wrath ; you would have thought that in the 
scornfulness of her nature she must have sprung upon 
her foe with more of fierceness than of skill. But this 
was not so, for with all the force and vehemence of 
her invective, she displayed a sober, patient, and 
minute attention to the details of vituperation, which 
contributed to its success a thousand times more than 
mere violence. 

" During the hours that this sort of conversation, or 
rather discourse, was going on, our tchibouques were 
from time to time replenished, and the lady, as well as 
I, continued to smoke with little or no intermission 
till the interview ended. I think that the fragrant 
fumes of the Latakiah must have helped to keep me 
on my good behaviour as a patient disciple of the 


" It was not till after midnight that my visit for the 
evening came to an end. When I quitted my seat the 
lady rose, and stood up in the same formal attitude 
(almost that of a soldier in a state of attention) which 
she had assumed on my entrance; at the same time 
she pushed the loose drapery from her lap, and let it 
fall down upon the floor. 

" The next morning after breakfast I was visited by 
my lady's secretary the only European, except the 
doctor, whom she retained in her household. This 
secretary, like the doctor, was Italian, but he preserved 
more signs of European dress and European preten- 
sions than his medical fellow-slave. He spoke little or 
no English, though he wrote it pretty well, having been 
formerly employed in a mercantile house connected 
with England. The poor fellow was in an unhappy 
state of mind. In order to make you understand the 
extent of his spiritual anxieties, I ought to have told 
you that the doctor (who had sunk into the complete 
Asiatic, and had condescended accordingly to the 
performance of even menial services) had adopted the 
common faith of all the neighbouring people, and had 
become a firm and happy believer in the divine power 
of his mistress. Not so the secretary. When I had 
strolled with him to such a distance from the building 
as rendered him safe from being overheard by human 
ears, he told me in a hollow voice, trembling with 
emotion, that there were times at which he doubted 
the divinity of Miladi. I said nothing to encourage 
the poor fellow in his frightful state of scepticism, for 
I saw that, if indulged, it might end in positive in- 
fidelity. Lady Hester, it seemed, had rather arbitrarily 
abridged the amusements of her secretary ; and especi- 
ally she had forbidden him from shooting small birds 
on the mountain-side. This oppression had aroused 

1830-1838] DJOUN 309 

in him a spirit of inquiry that might end fatally per- 
haps for himself perhaps for the ' religion of the 

" The secretary told me that his mistress was 
strongly disliked by the surrounding people, and that 
she oppressed them a good deal by her exactions. 
I know not whether this statement had any truth in 
it ; but whether it was or was not well founded, it is 
certain that in Eastern countries hate and veneration 
are very commonly felt for the same object, and the 
general belief in the superhuman power of this 
wonderful white lady her resolute and imperious 
character, and above all, perhaps, her fierce Albanians 
(not backward to obey an order for the sacking of a 
village) inspired sincere respect amongst the sur- 
rounding inhabitants. Now the being ' respected ' 
amongst Orientals is not an empty or merely honorary 
distinction, but carries with it a clear right to take 
your neighbour's corn, his cattle, his eggs, and his 
honey, and almost anything that is his, except his wives. 
This law was acted upon by the Princess of Djoun, 
and her establishment was supplied by contributions 
apportioned amongst the nearest of the villages. 

" I understood that the Albanians (restrained, I 
suppose, by the dread of being delivered up to 
Ibrahim) had not given any very troublesome proofs 
of their unruly natures. The secretary told me that 
their rations, including a small allowance of coffee 
and tobacco, were served out to them with tolerable 

" I asked the secretary how Lady Hester was off for 
horses, and said that I would take a look at the stables. 
The man did not raise any opposition to my proposal, 
and affected no mystery about the matter, but said 
that the only two steeds which then belonged to 


Miladi were of a very humble sort. This answer, and 
a storm of rain then beginning to descend, prevented 
me at the time from undertaking my journey to the 
stables, and I don't know that I ever thought of the 
matter afterwards, until my return to England, when 
I saw Lamartine's eye-witnessing account of the 
strange horse saddled, as he pretends, by the hands of 
his Maker! 

11 When I returned to my room (this, as my hostess 
told me, was the only one in the whole building that 
kept out the rain), Lady Hester sent to say she would 
be glad to receive me again. I was rather surprised at 
this, for I had understood that she reposed during the 
day, and it was now little later than noon. ' Really,' 
said she, when I had taken my seat and my pipe, ' we 
were together for hours last night, and still I have 
heard nothing at all of my old friends ; now, do tell 
me something of your dear mother, and her sister ; 
I never knew your father it was after I left Burton 
Pynsent that your mother married.' 1 began to make 
slow answer; but my questioner soon went off again 
to topics more sublime ; so that this second interview, 
though it lasted two or three hours, was all occupied 
by the same sort of varied discourse as that which 
I have been describing. 

" In the course of the afternoon the captain of an 
English man-of-war arrived at Djoun, and Lady Hester 
determined to receive him for the same reason as that 
which had induced her to allow my visit namely, an 
early intimacy with his family. I and the new visitor 
he was a pleasant, amusing man dined together, 
and we were afterwards invited to the presence of my 
Lady, and with her we sat smoking till midnight. The 
conversation turned chiefly, I think, upon magical 
science. I had determined to be off at any early hour 

1830-1838] DJOUN 311 

the next morning, and so at the end of this interview 
I bade my Lady farewell. With her parting words 
she once more advised me to abandon Europe, and 
seek my reward in the East ; and she urged me too to 
give the like counsels to my father, and tell him that 
4 she had said it' 

" Lady Hester's unholy claim to supremacy in the 
spiritual kingdom was, no doubt, the suggestion of 
fierce and inordinate pride most perilously akin to 
madness ; but I am quite sure that the mind of the 
woman was too strong to be thoroughly overcome by 
even this potent feeling. I plainly saw that she was 
not an unhesitating follower of her own system ; 
and I even fancied that I could distinguish the brief 
moments during which she contrived to believe in 
herself, from those long and less happy intervals in 
which her own reason was too strong for her. 

" As for the lady's faith in astrology and magic 
science, you are not for a moment to suppose that 
this implied any aberration of intellect. She believed 
these things in common with those around her; and 
it could scarcely be otherwise, for she seldom spoke 
to anybody except crazy old dervishes who at once 
received her alms and fostered her extravagances ; 
and even when (as on the occasion of my visit) she 
was brought into contact with a person entertaining 
different notions, she still remained uncontradicted. 
This entourage, and the habit of fasting from books and 
newspapers, were quite enough to make her a facile 
recipient of any marvellous story." 

For some reason or other, Mr. Kinglake was not 
allowed to see either her garden or her famous 

In the summer of 1836 we find poor Lady Hester 
once more the victim of a hoax. This time she {iacl 

3 i2 ANOTHER HOAX [CH. vn 

inherited an estate in Ireland, the knowledge of 
which was kept from her by interested persons. It 
was quite true that a Colonel Needham had be- 
queathed his estate to Mr. Pitt, who died before him, 
and that it then devolved on Lord Kilmorey, as his 
heir-at-law. She was now assured that Lord Kil- 
morey, dying childless, had felt bound to carry out 
the Colonel's wishes regarding this estate, and had 
therefore bequeathed it to her as Mr. Pitt's heir. Who 
but Lady Hester would have been imposed upon by 
such a tale ? yet she believed it implicitly, and believed 
it to her dying day. She wrote at once to ask her 
friend M. Guys to come to her. 

" Very extraordinary circumstances have come to 
my knowledge which I cannot communicate to you by 
letter. ... I should like to have an opportunity of 
profiting by your counsel touching certain things 
somewhat incredible, which have been twice repeated 
to me by persons much attached to me, but who are 
not desirous of being known." 

This friend was the French Consul at Beyrout, who 
appears to have been of the greatest service to her, 
taking the place of his English colleague, with whom 
she would have nothing to do. Several of her letters 
to him are given in the " Memoirs," but they are chiefly 
on business. In one she says : 

"God grant that the time may come when I shall 
have it in my power to return you, in some shape, a 
small measure only of the politeness and attention I 
have received from you. ... I will send you back the 
book (' Voyage en Orient ').... Half of what the 
writer says is false. Before I went to Palmyra I made 
an excursion into the desert with Lascaris alone, 
keeping the doctor and the married servants, under 
one pretext or another, from accompanying me. 
Lascaris and I were pursued by the Fedaan Bedouins, 
who were hostile to Mohammed el Fadl, and although 

1830-1838] DJOUN 313 

our horses never drank for two days, we rode from ten 
in the morning until after midnight without eating or 
drinking to get out of their district. Then, again, the 
dispute between Lascaris and me was about a groom, 
who, not knowing who he was, would not let him 
enter my stables at Hamah. His pride would not 
stop to listen to reason, and he ran away. I met him 
several years after at Tripoli, and he made me cry for 
an hour by the excess of his grief and the excuses 
which he made me so much so that I, who hardly 
ever shed tears, was astonished at myself. Poor man ! 
There indeed was a true courtier, with the most 
elegant manners and an inconceivable fund of know- 
ledge, without pedantry. It was not Napoleon that 
he was so much attached to, it was to him who had 
the portefeuille. You know very well what he did for 
him." i 

She also wrote to Lord Hardwicke, " a man who 
has rendered me one thousand services without ever 
having made them known to me, but chance has 
brought them to my knowledge," asking him to 
enquire about her Irish estate. A vain quest indeed ! 
Then she summons back the doctor. 

Lady Hester to Dr. Meryon 

"August 2ist, 1836. 

" I hope I shall not claim in vain the assistance of 
an old friend, at the moment I most require one I can 
depend upon, to settle the business of my debts, &c., 
now made public. Money has been left to me which 

1 This Lascaris, a Piedmontese by birth, was a former Knight of 
Malta, who had followed Napoleon to Egypt, and been sent by him to 
explore the route to India, where he then thought of going. Lascaris 
spent seven years in wandering, under various disguises, among the 
wild tribes of Mesopotamia and the banks of the Euphrates, feigning 
a sort of monomania to account for his movements. But when he 
brought back the result of his researches, he found his labour had 
been in vain, for the Emperor was no longer on the throne, and re- 
turning discouraged to the East, died at Cairo, poor, neglected, and 


has been concealed from me. I could hardly at first 
believe it until I was assured of it by a young lawyer 
who had the fact from one of my Irish relations. I 
should wish you to come as soon as you can possibly 
make it convenient to yourself, and return when the 
business is over. . . . An English traveller, who has 
written, as I am informed, a very learned work, told a 
person that when M. Lamartine's book first came out in 
England the impression was so strong, that many 
people who did not personally know me talked of 
coming here to investigate my affairs and to offer their 
services, but that they were prevented. A woman 
of high rank and good fortune " (Baroness de Feriat) 
"who has built herself a palais in a remote part of 
America, has announced her intention of passing the 
rest of her life with me, so much has she been struck 
with my situation and conduct. She is nearly of my 
age ; and thirty-seven or thirty-eight years ago I 
being personally unknown to her was so taken with 
my general appearance, that she never could divest 
herself of the thoughts of me, which have ever since 
pursued her. At last, informed by M. Lamartine's 
book where I was to be found, she took this extra- 
ordinary determination, and in the spring I expect her. 
She is now selling her large landed estate, preparatory 
to her coming. She, as well as Leila, the mare, is in 
the prophecy " (see p. 210). "The beautiful boy has 
also written, and is wandering over the face of the 
globe, till destiny marks the period of our meeting. 

" I have heard of your situation, and it pains me 
beyond expression. 1 Here you might, I believe, have 
been happy, and I also comfortable, as I have confi- 

1 "I understand," she writes to M. Guys, "that the doctor's cir- 
cumstances are not very flourishing. Poor man ! let him take courage ; 
he shall be better ay, shall be well off, when I have just put dowa 
those . . ," 

1830-1838] LUNARDI 315 

dence in your integrity ; and, whilst you were regu- 
lating all as I should have wished, you would have 
pursued those avocations most pleasing to your taste. 
What advice can I give you that I have not already 
given fifty times ? 

11 Of myself, I can say but little that is amusing ; 
for, from the time the Egyptian troops entered this 
country till now, I have been in hot water. After the 
siege, all that remained of the wretched population 
fled here. ... It was only at the beginning of this 
year that I got rid of a family of eighteen persons, all 
orphans and widows. ... I had, at one time, seventy- 
five coverlets out for strangers chiefly soldiers the 
village full of families, and those at Sayda and other 
places coming and going for a little money to buy their 
daily bread. 

" I have saved many lives by my energy and 
determination, and have stood alone in such a storm ! 
All trembled, Franks as much as the rest ; and if they 
pretended to act with a little spirit, they were sure to 
have folly and not justice on their side, and to be at 
last forced to give in. But the most of them joined, 
heart and hand, with the usurpers, whom I have 
treated without mercy, and in the end carried all 
before me. God helped me in all ; for, otherwise, I 
never could have got through with it, having no one 
of any sort of use to me. 

" Lunardi, Mr. Webb's man, whom you so strongly 
recommended to me, turned himself into a doctor, and 
was too much taken up with his new title to be of 
any use to me ; yet, this useless Lunardi is a good- 
hearted fellow. Were you to see him now, however, 
you would hardly know him, his manners are so 
improved, as well as his understanding. I believe, 
also, that he is attached to me. 


" Anxiety, agitation, and fatigue, together with the 
violent passions I sometimes put myself in, caused me, 
only a year ago, to vomit blood enough several times 
to kill a horse. In seven days it stopped, but yet I 
was obliged to be bled eleven times in four months 
and a half, fearing a return. Yesterday I was 
working like a fellah " (labourer) " in my garden. 
I am very thin, but contented about my health, 
as this gives proof of my natural strength. With 
the blood running out of my mouth, I was col- 
lected enough to give orders respecting a man who, 
if he had been caught, would have lost his head; 
and no soul in the family knew of this but one, 
who insisted on seeing me in the state I was in ; and 
although I could hardly speak, I reflected much, and 
thank God ! settled all to my satisfaction. . . . Do 
not be uneasy about my health, for an English medical 
man, who came here after my illness, said he never 
saw such a constitution in his life, and that my pulse 
then was a better pulse than his. 

" I am reckoned here the first politician in the world, 
and by some a sort of prophet. Even the Emir 
(Beshyr) wonders, and is astonished ; for he was not 
aware of this extraordinary gift formerly ; but yet all 
say I mean enemies that I am worse than a lion 
when in a passion, and that they cannot deny I have 
justice on my side. . . . 

" P." (an Italian) " has gambled away nearly five 
hundred dollars I gave him about four years ago 
for things that I wanted, and never sent me any- 
thing." . . . 

She gives him a list of commissions such a pitiful 
list ! showing her need of the commonest necessaries. 

" I want for myself six cups and saucers ; the 


top, I think, four inches in diameter, height, two 
inches. I had a cup I was so fond of, for tea and 
coffee tasted so good out of it ! It was strong and 
good china, but it is gone, and one cup held enough 
for my breakfast a moderate cup and a half. I 
want also a teapot, black or red, which you like ; two 
cream jugs, four milk jugs, in case two are broken 
(being always in use) ; six plates, four glass things, 
for butter and honey; a toast rack not plated, a 
plated one for strangers ; a dozen basins, some little 
phials and corks, a few common candlesticks (brass or 
something strong), a few common entangling combs, 
a few scrubbing brushes for the kitchen that is all. 

" The little black is not twelve years old, yet she 
does my bedroom, and answers the bell ; she is the 
only good-tempered black I have seen, so I try to 
please her, poor thing ! If you come, I should there- 
fore wish (if not too expensive) that you should bring, 
as an encouragement, a pair of earrings, a string of 
beads, a pair of bracelets, and a thimble. 

" I do not want any books, having no one to read to 
me ; it even puts my eyes out to write this." 

The Baroness de Feriat, whom Lady Hester ex- 
pected in the spring, represented in her eyes " the 
woman from a far country " of the prophecy, who 
was to come and " partake of the mission." She 
never came, and I fear she too was a fraud. But 
why did she announce herself? What possible motive 
could she have had in making so extraordinary a pro- 
posal? There was nothing whatever to be gained 
by it, except, perhaps, notoriety, and the love of 
notoriety leads people to do strange things. On the 
other hand, how could Lady Hester welcome such a 
prospect? The coming of an unknown woman to 
remain with us for the rest of her life, would fill 
most of us with dismay. To her it was but the ful- 
filment of prophecy, a part of her appointed destiny, 
and she was pleased and interested. " I fancy," she 


writes, " Madame de Feriat must be a woman quite 
unique." She was, as usual, persuaded that it was 
all true, and that the rich lady from a remote part 
of America was really coming ; and, in perfectly good 
faith, set about looking for a house for her, and 
preparing and decorating it. " For the divan-room I 
should like ornaments of a musical character, for she 
seems to be very fond of music and of the fine arts." 

The " beautiful boy " without a father, I am sorry to 
say, is never mentioned again. 

Dr. Meryon responded to her summons in the 
following year, and duly arrived at Beyrout on July 
ist, 1837, bringing with him much against Lady 
Hester's wishes his wife, his daughter Eugenia, and 
Eugenia's governess. Their coming was singularly 
unwelcome to her, and she did not scruple to tell 
him so. 

" I could wish you," she writes, " first of all, to come 
here alone, to see a house at Sayda for your family, 
and for us to well understand one another before 
you bring them here. For your sake, I should 
always wish to show civility to all who belong to : 
you ; but caprice I will never interfere with, for, from 
my early youth, I have been taught to despise it. ... 
I hope your health is quite recovered, and, in the end, 
that you will have no reason to regret your voyage." 

This time, then, there was to be no friendly recep- 
tion, no robing of the honoured guest ; Mrs. Meryon 
was to be kept at arm's length ; and, ungracious and 
unkind as Lady Hester's decision appears, there is 
something to be said in favour of its wisdom. She 
wished, if possible, to avoid all friction at any rate, 
all discussion ; and to guard herself against a recur- 
rence of the state of things that had existed six years 
before. And in this she was to a great extent 
successful. She was not, however, unmindful of Mrs. 
Meryon's comfort, for she sent one of her servants to 
attend upon her, as well as mules for the whole party 
and their luggage. The doctor, disregarding her 
request, brought them on at once to Sayda, where he 

1830-1838] GENERAL lOUSTANEAtr 319 

found that an earthquake, six months Ibfefore, had 
cracked or thrown down more 'than toailf <the houses, 
and the French Consul <!ould <n!ly 'offer them his 
garden, in which to .pitch ifcheir tent. Dr. Meryon 
himself went on to Djoun, ;ain<fl returning the next day, 
found his family bathed in tears. The night before, a 
deserter, trying to ihide ihimself in the Consular garden, 
had appeared atttbe^ent door. Mrs. Meryon's shrieks 
roused the w^hole household, and the French ladies 
had vainly endeavoured to convince her there was no 
danger ; she insisted on being taken away at once. 
The doctor, at his wits' end, bethought himself of Mar 
Elias, Lady Hester's former home, which she still 
retained, and where, though this building, too, had 
suffered greatly in the earthquake, they found ample 
accommodation. One of the rooms was occupied by 
the crazy French prophet, General Loustaneau, now 
nearly eighty-two, and living, as he had done for 
twenty years past, on Lady Hester's bounty. 

" He had a maid-servant to take care of him ; a 
barber, on fixed days, to shave him. Lamb, mutton, 
or beef, flour for his bread, and wine, were sent as his 
consumption required, money being liberally furnished 
him for purchasing everything else from Sayda." 

The doctor found that the woman in charge 
neglected the poor old man, and told Lady Hester so. 
The next morning he found 

"An extraordinary display on the floor of her bed- 
room. ' See,' she said, ' what I am reduced to ! 
Ever since daylight this morning ' (it was then 
noon) ' have I been handling pots and pans to make 
the Prophet comfortable. For on whom can I de- 
pend ? on these cold people ? A pack of stocks and 
stones, who rest immovable amidst their fellow- 
creature's sufferings! Why did you not give that 
woman a dressing? I'll have her turned out of the 
village an impudent hussy ! ' 


" Here, from having raised her voice, she was seized 
with a spasm in the throat and chest, and, with a 
sudden start, ' Some water, some water ! make haste ! ' 
she cried, and gasped for breath as if almost suffo- 
cated. I handed her some immediately, which she 
greedily drank. I then threw the window open, and 
she became better. ' Don't leave me, doctor, ring the 
bell : I can't bear to be left alone a moment, for if one 
of these attacks were to come t on, and I could not ring 
the bell, what could I do ? You must forgive me if I 
fall into these violent passions, but such is my nature, 
I can't help it. I am like the horse Mr. Pitt had. Mr. 
Pitt used to say, " You can guide him with a hair ; if 
I only move my leg he moves on, and his pace is so 
easy, it's quite charming ; but if you thwack him or 
contradict him, he is unmanageable " that's me ! " 

These sudden attacks, with a throttling sense of 
suffocation, which, as she described it, was like the 
gripe of a hand upon her throat, seemed to the doctor 
symptoms of water in the chest, and made him very 
uneasy. She had long suffered from a chronic cough, 
that subsided during the summer months, returning 
with increased violence every winter; and she was 
in a state of complete emaciation, having been, for 
the last twenty years, regularly bled four or five 
times a year. She would seldom or never take his 
advice, for she prescribed almost entirely for herself, 

" Had peculiar systems, drawn from the doctrine of 
other people's star. Such is the state of the balmy 
air in Syria, that, had she trusted to its efficacy alone, 
and lived with habits of life like other people, nothing 
serious was to be dreaded from her illness. But she 
never breathed the external air, except what she got 
by opening the windows, and took no exercise, but 
for about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour daily, 

1830-1838] DJOUN 321 

when, on quitting her bedroom to go to the saloon, 
she took two or three turns in her garden to see her 
flowers and shrubs, which seemed to be the greatest 
amusement she had." 

On October 2$th of this year, she had to take to her 
bed, and did not leave it again till the following 

It was more owing to the state of her health than 
from any disinclination to receive visitors, that, in the 
latter years of her life, she habitually closed her doors 
against them. She often bitterly regretted that she 
was unable to see them, as nothing pleased her better 
than to hold forth on " sublime subjects," to which 
fortunately for himself she considered the doctor 
unsuited. Sometimes, too, it was from actual want of 

" How many times," she said, " have I been abused 
by the English when I did not deserve it, and for 
nothing so much as for not seeing people, when 
perhaps it was quite out of my power ! There was 
Mr. Anson, and Mr. Strangways, who, because I 
refused to see them, sat down under a tree, and wrote 
me such a letter ! Little did they know that I had not 
a bit of barley in the house for their horses, and 
nothing for their dinner. I could not tell them so ; but 
they might have had feeling enough to suppose it was 
not without some good reason that I declined their 
visit. Many a pang has their ill-nature given me, as 
well as that of others. I have the note still some- 

On more than one occasion she entertained guests 
whom she was unable to see, as in the case of Mr. 
Foster and Mr. Knox. She found that the former was 
the relation of Sir Augustus, our minister at Turin, 
and bade the doctor 

" Go instantly to him, for Sir Augustus is an old 



friend of mine. Be particularly attentive to Mr. Foster 
indeed, to both of them. Tell them I am very sorry 
I can't see them ; for when I get into conversation I 
become animated, and then I feel the effects of it 
afterwards ; but assure them they are welcome to 
make their home of their present lodging for a couple 
of days or a couple of hours as long as they 
like. . . . Go, go! and make them as comfortable as 
you can." 

It is easy enough to entertain guests when all that 
is required is to give the necessary orders ; poor Lady 
Hester had to practise hospitality under far different 
conditions. For her it entailed endless worry and 
trouble. She had to contrive and consider how it was 
possible to furnish them with a decent dinner. The 
doctor told her he had seen the cook, and made out 
the best bill of fare he could. " But now," she said, 
"what can be got for their dejeuner a la fourchettel 
for there is nothing in the house. Ah, yes ! let me 
see there is a stew of yesterday's that I did not 
touch ; that may be warmed up again, and some 
potatoes added ; and then you must taste that wine 
that came yesterday from Garyfy, to see if you think 
they will like it. The spinach my maid must do I 
have taught ZezefOon to do it very well." Here she 
rang for Zezef6on, and gave directions for the 
spinach, adding : " The strangers must have some of 
my butter and some of my bread. Likewise give out 
the silver spoons, and knives and forks ; they are 
under that cushion on the ottoman there ; and mind 
you count them when you give them to Mohammed, 
or they will steal one, and dispute with you afterwards 
about their number a pack of thieves!" Mr. Foster 
asked for a glass of lemonade. Little could he have 
imagined the commotion caused by this modest request. 
"Lemonade!" cried Lady Hester; "why, the maid 
said the secretary had been to ask for some violet 
syrup for them ; now, which is it they want ? And 
then, who is there can make lemonade? not a soul 
but myself in the whole house ; and poor I am obliged 
to wear out my little strength in doing the most trivial 

1830-1838] LADY HESTER'S VISITORS 323 

offices. Here I am I wanted to write another letter 
to go by the steamboat, and now all my thoughts are 
driven out of my head. Zezefoon ! order the gardener 
to bring me four or five of the finest lemons on the 
tree near the alley of roses you know where I mean 
and prepare a tray with glasses." And Lady Hester 
was presently sitting up in bed to squeeze lemons 
for the lemonade. She, who maintained so many 
pensioners and retainers, apparently made but scant 
provision for herself. 

She named to the doctor some of the visitors she 
had received during the past years ; apparently there 
were but few ; and in most cases he gives only their 
initials. Besides Captain Pechell and Captain Yorke, 
both of whom "she liked and thought clever men," 
there were the Due de Richelieu, " more like a militia 
officer than a French duke," a "sensible Scotchman," 
Mr. Dundas (during whose visit the girl Fatoom picked 
her pocket of her keys, ransacked her cupboards, and 
carried off all that was worth having), Count Delaborde, 
Dr. Mills, Count de la Porte, Lord St. Asaph (afterwards 
Earl of Ashburnham), &c., &c. " Did Lord St. Asaph 
publish anything?" she once asked. "He was very 
active, and went about seeking for antiquities every- 
where ; whenever he heard of anything, off he set, and 
visited it. When he saw my garden he expressed 
great admiration of it, and assured me that it was not 
only well kept for this country, but better kept than 
many a gentleman's grounds in England." 

About two months after his arrival, clouds began to 
appear on the doctor's domestic horizon. Mrs. Meryon 
took a dislike to Mar Elias, refused to remain there, 
and wished Lady Hester to provide them with a house 
at Dar Joon, nearer at hand, where her husband might 
spend his evenings with her. This Lady Hester 
declined to do ; she said a house must be sought for 
elsewhere, and ignored her claims to her husband's 
society. She was not, as we have seen, partial to her 
own sex ; there were very few women she really liked, 
and Mrs. Meryon certainly was not one of them. 

" Women," she would say, " must be one of three 
things. Either they are politicians and literary char- 
acters ; or they must devote their time to dress, 


pleasure, and love; or, lastly, they must be fond of 
domestic affairs. I do not mean by ' domestic affairs ' 
a woman who sits working at her needle, scolding 
a couple of children, and sending her maid next door to 
the shop for all she wants ; there is no trouble in that. 
What I mean is a yeoman's wife, who takes care of 
the butter and cheese, sees the poultry yard attended 
to, and looks to her husband's comfort and interest. 
As for the advantage of passing your evenings with 
your family, which you urge as a reason for having 
them near you, all sensible men that I have ever heard 
of take their meals with their wives, and then retire to 
their own room, to read, write, or do what they have 
to do, or what best pleases them. If a man is a fox- 
hunter, he goes and talks with his huntsman or the 
grooms, and very good company they are ; if he is a 
tradesman, he goes into his shop ; if a doctor, to his 
patients ; but nobody is such a fool as to moider away 
his time in the slip-slop conversation of a pack of 

On further reflection, however, she felt that she had 
no right, for the sake of her own affairs and her 
personal convenience, to retain the doctor in a position 
of constraint and discomfort. She wrote to him (he 
was then laid up with a bad leg) as follows : 

Lady Hester to Dr. Meryon 


" September 23^, 1837. 

" Whilst waiting for M. Guys' answer, I have some 
remarks to make, worthy of your attention. I do not 
speak in wrath, my dear doctor, but I do not see how, 
at this period, you are to help yourself; and it is plain 
to perceive that you will not be able in any way to 
accomplish the objects you came for. Therefore, I 
should deem it an act of folly to stick you up as 

1830-1838] DJOUN 325 

a sort of Maskera " (show) " in the public eye at 
Beyrout, merely to write a few letters. The whole 
of my business M. Guys offered to undertake before 
I sent for you, and to come here and write for me ; 
but I had reasons for wishing you to come, which no 
longer exist ; for under no circumstances do I see that 
you would be comfortable near me, nor should I wish 
it, either at present or in future. Therefore, if you 
like to pass the winter at Cyprus, where, perhaps, 
you would be more comfortable than at Beyrout, you 
are at full liberty to do so. When my affairs are 
settled, you might then, if Cyprus pleases you, pur- 
chase a little terro there, or return to Europe, as you 
like best. 

" I am very glad that you wrote to M. Guys 
yourself; for I had described a country house near 
some village, and you have described a sort of coffee- 
house near the gate of the town. You talked to me of 
Mrs. M.'s great love of retirement (which I laughed 
at, at the time), and therefore she chooses a house on 
the high road. But leave all that childish, vulgar stuff. 
I do not wish for a hasty answer, as this subject 
requires reflection. Try and make yourself comfort- 
able, and I shall find means of settling my business to 
my satisfaction ; only I must have a clear and distinct 
answer, that I may make arrangements accordingly. 
. . . Do not fidget yourself about me. I have made 
many awful sacrifices in my life, surely I can make a 
small one, when I know what it is." 

The doctor, however, would not accept his dismissal, 
for he did not wish to go. He was busily employed, 
little as she suspected it, in collecting materials for. the 
" Memoirs." Matters were arranged, a house was 
found that satisfied Mrs. Meryon, and all went on 
as before. 


In offering to part with the doctor, Lady Hester was 
really making a sacrifice, and in more respects than 
one, her greatest pleasure was to hear him read aloud 
the books she was debarred from reading herself. 
They were generally Memoirs (Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, 
Lady Charlotte Bury, etc.), recalling old scenes and 
former friends and acquaintances, and whenever a 
familiar name occurred, she launched forth into reminis- 
cences and anecdotes. These the doctor collected 
for his book, furnishing us with a vast amount of 
gossip, besides a great deal of rambling and random 
talk on every subject under the sun. Nor does he 
omit the various scoldings, lectures, and snubbings of 
which he was the recipient, and they were many and 
grievous. Of the anecdotes, I have only given two or 
three she tells of herself in early days, and even these 
with doubt and misgivings, for such of these stories 
as I have been able to test I have invariably found in- 
correct. Her memory had become more and more 
treacherous and confused, and was quite unreliable ; 
she evidently often gave the wrong names, jumbled 
together different events, distorted and exaggerated 
others, and was altogether oblivious of dates. The 
two years she had spent with Mr. Pitt became ten. 
The doctor, too, though he tells us he often wrote 
down what he had heard as soon as he got home, 
probably made a great many mistakes. She says in 
one of her letters (see p. 414) that he constantly made 
mischief by his want of accuracy, and even a scrupu- 
lously exact man would have found it difficult, not to say 
impossible, to retail without error a conversation that 
had lasted for several hours together. I rather agree, 
top, with M. Charles (Revue des deux Mondes, 1845) in 
thinking that his own mind became confused and 

11 Elle lui avait parl6 d'astrologie, de chiromancie, de 
jumens sacre"es, de Pitt, de Chatham, des etoiles, de 
serpens a t6te humaine et de la pierre philosophale ; 
elle 1'avait appelle idiot, bonhomme, tete de bois, 
et buche. Elle 1'avait caresse, flatte, mystifie, insulte", 
prfcch6, console", confess^, compliment^, et regale", si 
bien qu'il ne savait plus du tout ou il en tait." 


I will now give one or two instances of the untrust- 
worthiness of Lady Hester's memory. "James might 
think," she says (Vol. II., p. 38), "he did a great deal 
for me, but, let me ask you, did I not make a pretty 
great sacrifice for Lord Mahon and for him ? I sold 
a pretty round sum out of the American funds, and 
James took possession of about 500 worth of plate 
of mine, and of my jewels, and of Tippoo Saib's gold 
powder flask, worth 200." My father never received 
any money from her, and his brothers had (as appears 
from their letters) whatever they required from him. 
Jewels Lady Hester certainly never possessed, and I 
cannot understand how she acquired 500 worth of 
plate or any money in the South American funds. 
Tippoo Saib's powder flask remained in her pos- 
session, and was left in Messrs. Coutts 1 care when 
she left England. It was officially valued at 21 155. 
Then she speaks (Vol. II., p. 54) of -a former maltre 
d hotel of Mr. Pitt named Rice, who was & protege ot 
hers, and 

" Not like you, doctor, for he listened to my 
advice. The very first thing Mr. Pitt did, after coming 
into office the second time, was to provide for Mr. 
Rice. We had just got to Downing Street, and every- 
thing was in disorder. I was in the drawing-room ; 
Mr. Pitt, I believe, had dined out. When he came 
home, ' Hester/ said he, ' we must think of our dear, 
good friend Rice. I have desired the list to be 
brought to me to-morrow morning, and we will see 
what suits him.' ' I think we had better see now/ I 
replied. 'Oh, no, it is too late, now.' 'Not at all/ 
I rejoined, and I rang the bell and desired the 
servant to go to the Treasury and bring me the list. 
" On examining it, I found three places for which 
he was eligible. ' Rice/ said I, * here are three 
places to be filled up. One is a place in the Treasury, 
where you may fag on and, by the time you are 
forty-five or fifty, you may be master of twenty or 


five and twenty thousand pounds. There is another 
will bring you into contact with poor younger sons 
of the nobility, you will be invited out, get tickets 
for the opera, and may make yourself a fine gentle- 
man. The third is in the Customs ; there you must 
fag a great deal, but you will make a great deal of 
money. It is a searcher's place.' " 

My father remembered this Mr. Rice perfectly. He 
was never in Mr. Pitt's household, and received his 
office from Mr. Addington. She was evidently think- 
ing of some one else. 

Again (Vol. II., p. 31), "I was not insensible to 
praise from such a man " (Mr. Pitt), " and when, 
before Home Tooke and other clever men, he told 
me I was fit to sit between Augustus and Maecenas, 
I suppose I must believe it." My father adds this 
marginal note, " Home Tooke did not dine in company 
with Mr. Pitt, but was, during his administration, sent 
to the Tower on a charge of high treason." May I 
confess that I am also a little sceptical as to his placing 
her between Augustus and Maecenas? and that I 
am inclined to think he spoke in jest when he 
said to her (Vol. II., p. 32), "If you were a man, 
Hester, I would send you on the Continent with sixty 
thousand men and give you carte blanche ; and I am 
sure that not one of my plans would fail, and not one 
soldier would go with nis shoes unblacked." 

It would be very unfair to judge Lady Hester by 
her conversation at this period of her life, but, accord- 
ing to her sister, it did not do her justice even in her 
best days. " I do not know," writes Lady Griselda 
to my father, full of dismay and indignation at the 
announcement of the doctor's book, " whether I 
underrated her, but I believe her reputation for 
talent of a superior kind would, like Buonaparte's, 
be diminished by detailing her conversations, which, 
though amusing, no sensible person could listen to 
without feeling their great emptiness." 

In September of this year Lady Hester received a 
present that pleased her very much, even though it 
came from England. It was a splendidly bound 
copy of " The History of the Temple of Jerusalem, 

1830-1838] "FORGOTTEN BY THE WORLD" 329 

translated by the Rev. J. Reynolds," forwarded by 
the Oriental Translation Fund Society, with a com- 
plimentary letter from the president, Sir Gore Ouseley. 
Her letter of thanks contains, as will be seen, a dis- 
sertation on one of her favourite topics the Arabic 
origin of European families. Her method of proof is 
very simple. With a fine disdain of etymology, she 
takes her stand upon a similarity of sounds in the 
pronunciation of names and words, and at once 
assumes their connection. She even found an Arabic 
origin for her grandfather's title of Chatham, but, 
by a cruel omission, neglected to affiliate our own 

Lady Hester to Rt. Hon. Sir Gore Ouseley 


" September 2o/#, 1837. 

" Forgotten by the world, I cannot feel otherwise 
than much flattered by the mark of attention which it 
has pleased the society of learned men to honour me 
with. I must therefore beg leave, in expressing my 
gratitude, to return my sincere thanks. You must 
not suppose that I am the least of an Arabic scholar, 
for I cannot neither read nor write one word of that 
language, and am (without affectation), a great dunce 
upon some subjects. Having lived part of my life 
with the greatest philosophers and politicians of the 
age, I have been able to make this observation, that 
all of them, however they may dispute and ingeniously 
reason upon abstruse subjects, have, in moments of 
confidence, candidly declared that we can go no 
farther. Here we must stop all is problematical ; 
therefore I have wished, however it may appear 
presumptuous, to go farther and remove some of these 
stumbling-blocks, not by erudition, but by trusting to 
some happy accident. 

" It is extraordinary that many of this nature have 
occurred to me during my residence in the East. 


First, many proofs of the fallacy of history; next, 
being denied, and even scouted as gross superstition, 
many curious facts, which are pretended to be doubted, 
because no one knows how to account for them, 
but which real knowledge can clearly substantiate. 
There is a work in which Alexander the Great is 
clearly proved the son of the High Priest of Jupiter 
Ammon, and it was by his father's instructions that 
he succeeded in confining Gog and Magog, of which 
the name of the Cid Skander is the corroborative 
evidence. Then the gap in history which ought to 
be filled up with the reign of Malek Sayf (a second 
King Solomon) and his family, and after him Hamzy, 
the sort of Messiah of the Druses, who is expected to 
return in another form. I once saw a work which 
clearly proved the Pyramids to be antediluvian, and 
that Japhet was aware that the deluge was to be 
partial, as he placed that which was most valuable to 
him in another part of the world. 

" But what I have taken the most pleasure in, is 
the different races of men more important, it must 
be granted, than even those of horses, whose history 
in former times was intimately connected with that 
of their masters. I should be rather led to suppose 
that the name of O'Brien was Obeyan or Abeyan, 
which famous race may perhaps take its name from 
its master. One of my mares is of this race, not the 
one with the two backbones, which is mentioned by 
an ancient prophecy. 

" The Bedoween Arabs may be divided into two 
distinct classes, original Arabs and the descendants 
of Ismael, whose daughter married the ninth descend- 
ant of the great Katan, out of which germ sprang 
the famous tribe of Koreish, subdivided into many 
tribes, and which are a mixture of Hebrew blood. 


One of the most famous tribes was that of the Beni 
Hasheniz, from which spring the Boshnak and the 
Beni Omeyu, the Irish, always famous for the beauty 
of their women. The Scotch are likewise Koreish 
the nobility descending from the King Al Yem (and 
his court), father of Gebailuata, who headed the 
fifty thousand horse, when they took their flight from 
the Hedjaz, after a quarrel with the Caliph Omar. 
They resided some time in Syria, but when the town 
of Gebeili became inadequate to contain their numbers, 
many took themselves off to the Emperor Herculius, 
towards Antioch and Tarsus. 

" They afterwards left this country in four different 
divisions, the Scotch, the Irish, the Bosnaks, and the 
Albanians; the Albanians being joined by the dis- 
banded soldiers of Tamerlane, called Shams, who 
adopted their dress and manners, and passed for 
Albanians, but are rather despised to this day by the 
thoroughbred Albanians, of which I consider the 
Josca to be the true breed, of whom the great, to 
this period, marry only among themselves ; still pre- 
serving in their persons that lightness which the 
Ghigars have not, whose race is rather mon- 
grelized although perhaps finer men upon the whole 
identified more by their courage and activity than 
by their persons with the native Arabs. It is said 
that one tribe went to India, but I doubt this 
authority, and think that perhaps they took the road 
to India, but did not arrive there ; for the tribe of 
Malek is now to be found visiting at times the blacks 
in Africa, who are equally astonished by their beauty 
as well as by the positive interdiction of lying among 
them. They call themselves Koreish, but they are in 
fact a generation before the Koreish, the first of whom 
was Ferk, or Fish, or Fyr. In case of the tribe of 


Malek counting for one, the Scotch and Irish must 
have gone together. 

" The names of Minorca and Majorca have likewise 
references, which are too long to enter upon. 

" Gibraltar probably took its name from the great 
chief Gebailu Alta, and the monkeys remaining on the 
mountain without doing any harm or infesting the 
town seem to indicate that they are confined to certain 
localities by talismanic art, well known among the 
Koreish, but ill-understood in these days. 

" If you had not an Arab sign about you, which I 
observed when you first made your diplomatic bow, 
I should hardly venture to express this supposition, 
as it would place me still higher in the list of mad- 
women, in which I now stand before the eyes of the 
world. Notwithstanding, I can bring facts incontro- 
vertible or corroborative to prove all that I assert, and 
my suppositions, therefore, are only founded upon 
facts of the same nature. 

" But first, respecting the South, I should like to 
know how the name of one of the most famous and 
greatest idols of the East, Lochaber, was transported 
into Scotland from whence, and by whom ? and 
Malcolm (Ma-el-com) I will leave you learned to 
guess the import ; Ameltoo (I have done it), Hamilton ; 
Addeitoo (I have numbered them) answers to Omar ; 
Macduff, with the tambourine, that is, with the band 
of music ; Mackenzie (maalkenz), with the treasure, 
probably the Khasmadar; Elphinstone (the pistachio 
nut) ; Gordon (gurdaii), a jewel worn by women round 
the neck. The tribe of Gordon is now in the Neaja 
country, about thirty-six days from Bussora; the 
tribe of Argyle has at times sojourned on the borders 
of Syria. 

" I need not go any farther ; you must look over 


the Scotch titles and names "of persons and places, 
and you will see how many there are who, it is plain 
to perceive, are of Arabic origin, and you will soon 
observe the relation they bear either to circumstances, 
former employments, propensities, or tastes. 

" You cannot expect, when a Frenchman remains 
forty years in England, and can neither pronounce or 
spell a name, that during such a lapse of time many 
of these names should not have undergone changes, 
but their origin is yet evident. 

"The Duke of Leinster's motto (Crom Aboo % his 
father's vineyards) has a grand signification, alluding 
to the most learned of works, of which only two 
copies exist, and which was not well understood even 
by the great Ulemas until about five hundred years 
afterwards, when Shaikh Mohadeen of the Beni Taya 
found out the key. 

" If I have intruded too long on your valuable time, 
and that the philosopher of chance should have pre- 
sumed to have offered a little heterogeneous informa- 
tion to the learned, you, Sir, must the more willingly 
forgive me, as your name holds such intrusion in 
command ' I want you ' (Ouseley). Your star denotes 
you to be of admirable good taste and great perspicuity, 
and the sign I have mentioned that you are of ancient 
origin, therefore well calculated to investigate the 
subjects I have had the honour to lay before you. 

" You will forgive me for having used the pen of 
another, but my sight and state of health will not at 
all times allow of my writing a long letter. 

" I salute all the philosophers with respect. 


How astounded the old Celts would have been to 
hear that their rousing war cry, Crom-a-boo, was an 
allusion to the most learned of Eastern works ! 


During this autumn, a forced levy for Ibrahim 
Pacha's army was carried on with merciless severity 
in Syria. Till the Egyptian conquest conscription 
had been unknown, for the Pacha's troops were always 
mercenaries ; but now, without a note of warning, the 
scourge descended upon the land. One evening, as 
the people of Sayda were coming out of the mosques 
and coffee-houses, they were waylaid by gangs of 
soldiers, who seized upon all the young men. The 
gates of the town had been previously closed, but 
some got away to the houses on the town walls, from 
whence they were let down by baskets into the open 
country. Here they were comparatively safe, for 
there were plenty of hiding-places, such as caves, 
ancient sepulchres, &c., that were known only to the 
peasants and shepherds, who faithfully guarded them. 
Others found a refuge in the Consulates, where no 
one could venture to molest them. But when this 
became known, the poor old fathers were dragged 
out in front of these houses, and flogged nearly to 
death under their sons' eyes, till, in their torture, they 
called upon them to give themselves up " Come out ! 
come out, and save our lives ! " Women were hung 
up by the hair of their head and whipped till they 
disclosed their sons' hiding-places. Those that were 
taken were never seen again. Once a soldier, always 
a soldier, in Ibrahim Pacha's army; death or desertion 
alone released them from service, and they were 
promptly drafted off to Egypt, while the Egyptian 
conscripts were brought to Syria. 

During this time of panic and distress, rpany 
entreaties for protection were addressed to Lady 
Hester. The old barber surgeon of Sayda, Mustafa, 
came to implore her to take two of his sons into her 
service : " a letter from the Syt to the commandant 
would save them." She was ill, and could not see 
him, but the doctor brought her his petition. 

" She considered the matter over, and as Mustafa 
was rather a favourite, she said at first, ' I think I will 
write to the commandant, for poor Mustafa will go 
crazy if his children are taken away from him. I 
have only to say that I wish the commandant to 

1830-1838] LADY HESTER'S DREAM 335 

baksheesh ' (make a present of) ' these boys to me, and 
I know he will do it.' Then, reflecting a little while, 
she altered her mind. ' No, doctor,' says she, ' it will 
hot do ; I must not do anything in the face of the 
laws of the country ; and besides, I shall have all 
the fathers and mothers in Sayda up here. Go, tell 
him so.' I did, and Mustafa returned very much 
dispirited to Sayda." 

Then two of her maids, Fatoom and Saada, came 
and fell down before her, kissed her feet and the hem 
of her garment, and begged her for the love of God 
to save their brothers, who had been put down on 
the fatal roll. She dismissed them with the same 
answer she had given to Mustafa and all the other 
suppliants. She could do nothing contrary to the 
law of the land, and their brothers must take their 
chance with the rest. But she had a plan of her own. 

" Three or four days had elapsed, when, quitting my 
house in the morning to go to Lady Hester's," writes 
the doctor, " I found that all her people were full of 
an extraordinary dream she had had. She had seen 
in her vision a man with a white beard, who had 
conducted her among the ravines of Mount Lebanon 
to a place where, in a cavern, lay two youths apparently 
in a trance, and had told her to lead them away to 
her residence. She attempted to raise them, and at 
the same moment the earth opened and she awoke. 
As soon as I saw Lady Hester, she recounted to me 
her dream to the same effect, but with many more 
particulars. Being in the habit of hearing strange 
things of this kind from her, I thought nothing of it, 
although I well knew there was something intended 
by it, as she never spoke without a motive. 

"Next morning I saw, as 1 passed the porter's lodge, 
two peasant lads sitting in it ; and as soon as I got to 


Lady Hester's room, she asked me if I had observed 
them. ' Isn't it wonderful, doctor,' said she, ' that I 
should have had exactly the same dream two nights 
following? and the second time so strongly impressed 
on my mind, that I was sure some of it would turn 
out true, and so it has. For this very morning, long 
before daylight, I had Logmagi called, and describing 
to him the way he was to go in the mountain until he 
should come to a wild spot I pointed to him, I sent 
him off; and sure enough, he found these two lads 
you saw, concealed, not in a cave, but in a tree, just 
where I had directed him to go. 

"'They are two runaway conscripts, and although 
I know nothing of them, yet I seem to feel that God 
directed me to bring them here. Poor lads ! did you 
observe whether they looked pale ? They must be in 
want of nourishment ; for the search that is going on 
everywhere after deserters is very hot. Logmagi 
himself had no very pleasant task to perform ; for, if 
they had mistaken him for a man in search of them, 
one against two in the heart of the mountain ran some 
risk for his life. You know, one deserter the other 
day wounded three soldiers who attempted to take 
him, and another killed two out of five, and although 
taken, was not punished by the Pacha, who exchanged 
willingly an athletic gladiator, who had proved his 
fighting propensities, for two cowards.' 

" These two lads, whom Lady Hester pretended not 
to know, were the brothers of Fat6om and Saada. 1 
They were put into a room in an inner enclosure, 
where they had comfortable quarters assigned them, 
and were kept for two months hid from observation, 

1 I well remember how Sir Frederic Lamb (the diplomatist, after- 
wards third and last Viscount Melbourne) praised the great cleverness 
of her method of managing this affair, and the knowledge it displayed 
of the Oriental character. 

1830-1838] LOGMAGI 337 

by which means they escaped the conscription for that 
year. At the end of their term, they were one day 
turned out, told they might go home in safety, and 
warned that, if ever they made their appearance near 
the house, they would be flogged. Such were Lady 
Hester's eccentric ways! and just as they were wasting 
their breath in protestations of gratitude they were 
frightened out of their senses. No doubt the reason 
was that, as, from their long stay in the premises 
they were more or less acquainted with every locality, 
it might be that they had formed a plan to carry off 
stolen goods, which Lady Hester had thus the fore- 
sight to frustrate." 

Logmagi, or, more properly, Hassan-el-Logmagi, 
here first mentioned, had been for some years installed 
as Lady Hester's steward, purveyor, emissary, and 
factotum at Sayda. All her transactions with the 
people of the country passed through his hands : he 
distributed many of her charities, and had travelled 
on her behalf to Constantinople and Marseilles. He 
was " a good-looking, cheerful fellow," who had begun 
life as a sponge-diver (hence his appellation), then 
traded along the coast in a small craft of his own, and 
latterly received from Abdalla Pacha the command of 
one of his armed cruisers. His little schapka had been 
chartered to convey the doctor and his family to 
Cyprus six years before; he thus became known to 
Lady Hester, who took a fancy to him, and when, 
after the fall of Acre, Abdalla Pacha had been sent in 
chains to Egypt, engaged him for her own special 
service. He was quite uneducated, and could neither 
read nor write, but had a good deal of native shrewd- 
ness and mother-wit, and was a great newsmonger, 
keeping Lady Hester well informed of all that went 
on in the country. 1 She had, besides, several other 
spies and secret emissaries, and was always perfectly 
well acquainted with the course of affairs at Damascus, 
Acre, Aleppo, &c. 

1 I afterwards heard at Sayda that Logmagi amassed a large 
fortune, which was dissipated by his spendthrift sons. 



For some months past she had been anxiously 
expecting a letter from Sir Francis Burdett. Lord 
Hardwicke had apparently regarded her Irish estate 
as a mere hallucination, and she had turned for 
assistance and information to the friend of her youth, 
whom she always remembered with the greatest 
regard. She had perfect confidence in his truth and 
loyalty, and was persuaded that he would see her 
righted. On his answer everything now depended ; 
it was her last chance. She had announced that she 
would soon be able to pay her creditors ; they were 
clamouring for the expected money, and she was 
forced to stave off, as best she might, their growing 
importunity. Each time a mail steamer arrived on 
the coast she was in a fever of expectation and 
impatience, and could not rest till she knew what it 
had brought her. Messenger after messenger was 
despatched in breathless haste to fetch the expected 
letter, but they always returned empty-handed ; no 
letter had come. The suspense and anxiety told 
terribly upon her in her enfeebled state. She was, 
in truth, very ill : so thin that her bones almost pro- 
truded through her skin, and she could find no 
position of ease in which to lie down. Her cough 
was so violent and incessant that she could scarcely 
either speak, or listen to the doctor's reading ; and 
during this miserable winter her indomitable spirit 
for the first time gave way. One day the doctor 
found her in tears. " Doctor," she gasped out, " I am 
very poorly to-day, and I was still worse in the night. 
I was within that " (holding up her finger) " of death's 
door, and I find nothing now will relieve me. A little 
while ago I could depend on something or other, 
when seized with these spasmodic attacks, but now 
everything fails ! How can I get better, when I can't 
have a moment's repose from morning till night ? 
When I was ill on former occasions, I could amuse 
myself with my thoughts, with cutting out in paper 
why, I have a closet full of models, in paper, 01 rooms, 
and arches, and vaults, and pavilions, and buildings, 
with so many plans of alterations, you can't think. 
But now, if I want a pair of scissors, they can't be 
found ; if I want a needle and thread, there is none 
forthcoming ; and I am wearied to death about the 
smallest trifles." She paused, and then resumed : " I 

1830-1838] "AN HUMBLE INSTRUMENT" 339 

have been under the saw" (drawing the little finger 
of her right hand backward and forward across the 
forefinger of her left) " for many years, and not a 
tooth but what has told; but it is God's will, and I 
do not repine ; it is man's ingratitude that wounds 
me most. How many harsh answers have even you 
given me, when I have been telling you things for 
your good : it is that which hurts me. When I see 
people of understanding moidering away their time, 
losing their memory, and doing nothing that is useful 
to mankind, I must be frank, and tell them of it. 
You are in darkness, and I have done my best to 
enlighten you ; if I have not succeeded, it is not my 
fault. As for pleasing or displeasing me, put that 
out of your head; there is no more in that than in 
pleasing or displeasing that door. I am but a worm 
a poor, miserable being an humble instrument in the 
hand of God." The doctor was so affected that he, 
too, burst into tears, and Lady Hester at once set 
about to comfort him, and restore him with coffee and 
orange-flower water. Another time he found, to his 
surprise, that she had risen from her sick bed, and 
gone into the garden, in order that her room might 
be put to rights. In consequence of her long con- 
finement, this had become urgently necessary, and 
she asked the doctor to superintend the cleaning, lest 
her thieving maids should rob her of the few things 
she still retained. He was shocked at the state in 
which he found her sick-room. " But, oh ! what a 
sight ! such dust, such confusion, such cobwebs ! 
Never was a lady's room seen before in such a 
condition : bundles, phials, linen, calico, silk, gallipots, 
clothes, etuis, papers, were all lying about on the 
floor, and in the corners, and behind and under the 
scanty furniture ; for all this while she had been 
afraid to get the chamber put in order, lest her 
servants should take advantage of the opportunity 
to plunder her." Her silver spoons she was obliged 
(as we have seen) to keep under a cushion on her 
divan. Well might she cry, " Who is to take care of 
me, surrounded as I am with those horrible servants?" 
On New Year's Eve, again, she cried long and bitterly, 
and, calling to Zezefoon to dress her, rushed out of 
her bedroom and into the saloon ; but here, during 
her illness, the sofa cushions had been piled up and 


the sofa mattresses removed, and she found no place 
where she could sit down. She had perforce to 
return to the sick-room where she had spent so many 
weary weeks. When the doctor came to her in the 
evening she told him of her distress. " Doctor," she 
said, " to-night in my father's house there used to be 
a hundred tenants and servants sitting down to a 
good dinner, and dancing and making merry. I see 
their happy faces now before my eyes: and when I 
think of that, and how I am surrounded here, it is 
too much for me. When you left me this morning, 
things of former times came over my mind, and I 
could not bear to sit here, so I went out to break the 
chain of my thoughts. I would have gone into the 
garden, but it rained." 

She was fond of declaring that she would never 
return to England except in chains ; but now, in her 
extremity, her thoughts reverted to her lost English 
home, and the old familiar faces she was to see no 
more. She bitterly complained of the way she had 
been treated, of the cruel neglect and persistent ill- 
usage of her family the family she nad scouted, 
disowned, and defied ! " Here I am," she would cry, 
"abandoned and forgotten, and left to die, without 
one relation near me ! " She forgot, in her indigna- 
tion, that they could in reality know nothing of her 
sad state : she had refused to answer her sister's 
letters, and herself cut off all means of communication. 
Her illness, too, was kept secret ; even Mrs. Meryon 
had not been told of it ; for " to say I am ill," she 
declared, " would be bringing a host of creditors upon 
me, and I should not be able to get bread to eat." 

At length, on January 27th, 1838 a memorable date 
for her Mr. Abela, the Consular Agent at Sayda, 
arrived with a letter that Mr. Moore, the Consul at 
Beyrout, had desired him to give into her own hands. 
Lady Hester, who was at daggers drawn with all the 
Consular authorities, positively refused to receive him. 
Mr. Abela insisted ; she flew into a violent passion, 
and, after a long altercation, he was forced to submit, 
and allow the letter to be given to her by the doctor. 
Now that, at last, she held it in her hand, Lady Hester 
believed all her troubles had come to an end. She 
never for a moment doubted what the answer would 
be. No more waiting and watching ; no more of the 

1830-1838] A DEATH-BLOW 341 

slow agony of hope deferred ; no more debts and 
duns ; the hour of her triumph and deliverance had 
struck, and she had come into her inheritance. She 
had worked herself up to such a pitch of excitement 
that the doctor actually feared she might break a 
blood-vessel. Alas ! when she opened her letter, she 
found it was not the expected reply from Sir Francis, 
but a very different missive. It was her death-blow 
that she had unconsciously received. 

Several years before, a money-lender, of the name 
of Homsy, to whom Lady Hester owed 5,250 dollars, 
petitioned the Viceroy of Egypt to interfere in his 
behalf. He declared that his whole future existence 
depended upon this sum (between 1,000 and .1,100 
in English money), 1 and that its loss reduced him to 
abject misery. Mehemet Ali, who was no friend to 
Lady Hester, the declared antagonist of his tool and 
ally, the Emir Beshyr, took up the case, and applied 
to Colonel Campbell, Consul-General in Syria, to 
obtain payment of this debt. 

All English subjects resident in Turkey are, by the 
capitulations, under the sole jurisdiction of their own 
Government, and all suits are carried before the 
tribunal of their Consul, and decided by him. Strictly 
speaking, he has no more right, under the law of 
England, to adjudicate in such matters, than to compel 
Turkish subjects to appear before him; "yet the 
advantages of encouraging the practice are so obvious, 
that the British Consuls, very properly, have never 
hesitated to go beyond the strict letter of the law, 
trusting to the good sense of British subjects." But, 
should they refuse to accept his decision, the Consul 
has no power to enforce it, and the case must go 
before the native tribunals. 

On October 22nd, 1834, Colonel Campbell applied 
to the Home Government on Homsy's behalf, and the 
Duke of Wellington, then at the Foreign Office, very 
sensibly refused to allow him to interfere in the 
matter. " Her Majesty's Government have no con- 

1 It is, I am told, impossible to ascertain the exact value of the old 
Egyptian silver dollar previous to the monetary reform carried out 
by Mehemet Ali in 1834. According to the value then assigned 
to it, 4*. ij^., the exact sum due to M. Homsy would be 
1,077 Ss. n^d. There were, however, other kinds of dollars then 
in circulation. 

342 "A DIRTY FELLOW" [CH. vn 

trol over Lady Hester Stanhope which could be 
exercised in favour of her creditors, and as the 
pecuniary transactions referred to appear to be 
entirely of a private nature, his Grace does not con- 
ceive that you can interfere in any official or authori- 
tative manner with respect to them." 

This settled the question, but only for a time. The 
next year found the "official tormentors" again at 
work on Colonel Campbell, and on December iQth, 
1835, he made a second application to the Foreign 
Office, pointing out " the great inconvenience which 
cannot fail, in any case, to accrue in conforming to 
the Duke's instructions." He was keen to interfere, 
but the Attorney-General, when consulted, entirely 
confirmed the Duke's decision. He reported that 
British consuls had no right to adjudicate between 
Turkish and British subjects ; " it must be done by 
consent of the parties, and Lady Hester must be asked 
to submit to his jurisdiction." 

Here Colonel Campbell found himself in a fix ; for 
he well knew what the answer to such a request would 
be. Lady Hester and he were on the worst possible 
terms. She speaks of him in one of her letters as 
" a dirty fellow " ; they had had no communication for 
years, and he might as well have asked the sun and 
the stars to submit to his jurisdiction. He felt himself 
powerless, and explained the difficulty and delicacy 
there was in " dealing with her ladyship, a solitary 
female of no inconsiderable rank, in a foreign country, 
distant from her relations and connexions," and sug- 
gested that it would be best for them to pay Mr. 
Homsy. It never seems to have occurred to him to 
take the trouble of investigating either the nature of 
the debt or the character of the creditor. 

After this the matter was allowed to rest for nearly 
two years. Then, in September, 1837, Colonel 
Campbell received another urgent official letter re- 
specting the claim of the indefatigable Homsy. He 
was reminded that " whenever claims were brought 
forward by British merchants against Turks, the 
most ready attention was paid to them, and therefore 
British subjects should be equally obliged to pay their 
just debts to the natives of the country." 

Hereupon he wrote a vigorous letter home, this 
time addressed to Lord Palmerston, who had now 


replaced the Duke of Wellington at the Foreign Office. 
" Your Lordship will, I am sure, perceive the extreme 
embarrassment in which I am placed by the un- 
fortunate conduct of Lady Hester Stanhope, and the 
prejudice which might arise in consequence of it to 
the interests of Her Majesty's subjects." 

Lord Palmerston was full of sympathy, and ready 
and willing to help him, but how to do it was the 
difficulty. Legal action had been pronounced im- 
practicable without Lady Hester's assent, and she 
had repeatedly declared that she no longer con- 
sidered herself an English subject. How, then, was 
she to be coerced? It was decided that only by 
means of her pension could this be done her pension 
must be stopped for payment of the debt. The 
Attorney-General was this time, it seems, left out of 
the question ; had he been consulted on this high- 
handed and drastic measure, there is little doubt that 
it would never have been adopted. 

Colonel Campbell was instructed to inform Lady 
Hester "confidentially" of the confiscation of her 
pension. Now, however, that he had secured his 
weapon, he was for some time rather perplexed how 
to use it. He found that he had no hold of any kind 
on Lady Hester, as the certificates for her pension 
were always signed by the French Consul, M. Guys, 
and not by Mr. Moore. After some hesitation, he 
made up his mind to write, and proposed to do so 
with every possible regard to her feelings. " At all 
events," he told Lord Palmerston, " you may be sure 
that I shall not for a moment forget Lady Hester's 
rank and sex, and that she is the niece of Pitt." 

His letter shows what his idea of proper con- 
sideration must have been. But it is only fair to 
remember that the one here given was the second that 
he had written to her ; the first, by some accident or 
other, was never delivered, and consequently never 

Colonel Campbell to Lady Hester 


" January loth, 1838. 

" MADAM, I trust that your Ladyship will believe 
my sincerity, when I assure you with how much 


reluctance and pain it is that I feel myself again l 
imperatively called upon to address you upon the 
subject of the debt so long due by you to Mr. 

" The government of the Viceroy has addressed that 
of Her Majesty on the subject; and by a despatch 
which I have received from Her Majesty's principal 
Secretary jof State for Foreign Affairs, I am led to 
believe that a confidential friend of your Ladyship 
will have already written to you to entreat you to 
settle this affair. 2 

" Your Ladyship must be aware that in order to 
procure your pension from Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment, it is necessary to sign a declaration, and to 
have the consular certificate, at the expiration of each 

"I know that this certificate has hitherto been 
signed by M. Guys, the Consul of France at Beyrout ; 
but in strict legality, it ought to be certified by the 
British, and not by any foreign consul; and should your 
Ladyship absolutely refuse the payment of this just 
claim, I shall feel myself, however deeply I may regret 
it, forced to take measures to prevent the signature 
of the French, or any other consul but the British, 
being considered as valid, and consequently your 

1 This communication Lady Hester never received. " He never 
addressed me on the subject, neither has anyone else. Nearly two 
years ago there was a report in the Bazaar that my debts had been 
spoken of to the King ; that my pension was to be seized ; that I was 
to be put under consular jurisdiction ; and a set of extravagant things 
that nobody ever heard the like. And certainly those who had 
ventured to charge themselves with such a message would have found 
that I was a cousin of Lord Camelford's." 

2 In the previous month of November, my father told Mr 
Backhouse, of the Foreign Office, " that a confidential friend of the 
family, who was supposed to have some influence over Lady Hester 
Stanhope, would write to her by that month's packet." This letter, 
probably from Lord Hardwicke, is not forthcoming, but is probably 
the one she alludes to in writing to him on October 21, 1838 
(see p. 412). 


bill for your pension will not be paid at home. I 
shall communicate this, if your Ladyship's conduct 
should oblige me so to do, to M. Guys and the 
other foreign consuls at Beyrout, in order that your 
certificate may not be signed, and also send this 
under flying seal to Mr. Moore, Her Majesty's Consul 
at Beyrout, in order that he may take the necessary 
steps to make this known to those consuls, if your 
Ladyship should call on them to sign the quarterly 
certificate for your pension. 

" I trust that your Ladyship will be pleased to 
favour me with a reply, informing me of your 
intentions, which reply will be forwarded to me by 
Mr. Moore. 

" I beg your Ladyship will be assured of the pain 
which I experience in being obliged to discharge this 
truly unpleasant duty, as well as the respect with 
which I have the honour to remain, 

" Your Ladyship's most obedient, humble servant, 

" H.M.'s Agent for Egypt and Syria." 




WHEN this cruel letter was first placed in her hands, 
Lady Hester had been violently excited ; but, as she 
read it, her emotion subsided, and she became quite 
calm and composed. Her pride was up in arms. Was 
it possible that she, Pitt's niece, had lived to be treated 
as a defaulting debtor? Was it credible that the Queen 
and her ministers should have been guilty of so 
unheard-of an outrage ? Had they altogether for- 
gotten who she was, and whence she sprang ? 

"My grandfather and Mr. Pitt did something, I 
think, to keep the Brunswick family on the throne ; 
and yet the granddaughter of the old King, without 
hearing the circumstances of my getting into debt, or 
whether the story is true (for it might be false), sends 
to deprive me of my pension in a foreign country, 
where I may remain and starve. If it had not been 
for my brother Charles, and General Barnard, the only 
two who knew what they were about, when the 
mutiny took place against the Duke of Kent at Gib- 
raltar, she would not be where she is now, for her 
father would have been killed to a certainty." 

" She mused for some time, and then went on : 
' Perhaps it is better for me that this should have 
happened ; it brings me at once before the world, and 
let it judge the matter. It would have looked too much 



like shucklaban ' (the Arabic for charlatanism) if I 
had to go and tell every one my own story, without 
a reason for it. But now, since they have chosen to 
make a bankrupt of me, I shall come out with a few 
things that will make them ashamed. The old King 
wrote down on the paper : ' Let her have the greatest 
pension that can be granted to a woman.' If he were 
to rise up and see me now ! ' " 

She spoke then, and ever after, with unruffled 
composure of the insult she had received ; but it 
rankled all the more bitterly and persistently. 
" Colonel Campbell's letter," says the doctor, " had 
given a stab to her heart, from which she never 
recovered. In proportion to the apparent calm that 
she endeavoured to assume, did the feeling of the 
supposed indignity which she had received prey 
upon her spirits." It was seldom absent from her 
thoughts ; she was constantly reverting to it, and 
considering what she should do, and to whom 
she should appeal. " I think," she said, " I will take 
the bull by the horns, and write to the Queen." But, 
first of all, she had to answer Colonel Campbell. Here 
is her letter, with the enclosure. 

Lady Hester to Colonel Campbell 

" DjOUN, 

" February tfti, 1838. 

11 SIR, I shall give no sort of answer to your letter 
of the loth of January (received the 27th) until I have 
seen a copy of H.M.'s commands respecting my debt 
to Mr. Homsy, or of the official order from the 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, as well as the 
statement of Mr. Homsy's claim sent to England, to 
whom, and through whom, in order that I may know 
whom I have to deal with, as well as be able to judge 
of the accuracy of the documents. 

" I hope in future that you will not think it necessary 
to make me any excuses for the execution of your 


duty ; on the contrary, I should wish to recommend 
you all to put on large Brutus wigs when you sit on 
the woolsack at Alexandria or at Beyrout. 


The doctor asked " what he should put at the close, 
and how she chose to subscribe herself? 'Say 
nothing,' replied she. ' How many times I have said 
I could never call myself the humble servant of 
anybody. I hate and detest all these compliments, so 
unmeaning and false ; but to Mr. Moore you may 
express my esteem and regard.' " 

Lady Hester to Mr. Moore, H.M's Consul at Beyrout 

" SIR, The sacrifice which I have made of your 
acquaintance and your society, that you might stand 
quite clear of everything that affects me, appears to 
be of little purpose. You will have some very dis- 
agreeable business to go through probably, as you 
will be made Col. Campbell's honourable agent, and 
he the agent of the wise Lord Palmerston, and he the 
agent of your magnificent Queen. There is Col. 
Campbell's answer, which I have left open for your 
perusal, as he did his. 

" If, in the end, I find that you deserve the name of 
a true Scotchman, I shall never take ill the part that 
you may have taken against me, as it appears to be 
consistent with your duty in these dirty times. 
" I remain, with truth and regard, yours, 


" Now," she said, " the thing to be considered is 
whether I shall write a letter to the Queen, and ask 
the Duke of Wellington to give it to her, or whether I 
shall put it in the newspapers ; for I am afraid, if I 
send it to him, he will not give it to her, or, if he does, 


they will say nothing about it. I should like to ask 
for a public inquiry into my debts and for what I have 
contracted them. Let them compare the good I have 
done in the cause of humanity and science with the 
Duchess of Kent's debts." 

She was not long in making up her mind, and, ill 
and suffering as she was, 1 all the following letters were 
dictated on the same day. 

Lady Hester to Queen Victoria 


"February I2t/i, 1838. 

" MADAM, Your Majesty must allow me to say, that 
few things are more disgraceful and inimical to 
Royalty than giving commands without examining all 
their different bearings, and to cast without reason an 
aspersion upon the integrity of any branch of a family, 
who has faithfully served their country and the House 
of Hanover. 

" As no inquiries have been made of me what 
circumstances induced me to incur the debts alluded 
to by Y.M.'s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, I 
deem it unnecessary to enter into any details or 
explanations upon the subject. But I shall not allow 
the pension given by your Royal grandfather to be 
stopped by force. I shall resign it for the payment of 
my debts, and with it the name of an English subject 
and the slavery at present annexed to it. And, as 
Y.M. has given publicity to this business, by Y.M.'s 
orders to consular agents, I surely cannot be blamed 
for following your Royal example. 


1 The doctor gives a sad account of her in his diary. Her back 
was bent as she sat up in bed ; her fingers were cold ; and she could 
only sleep in one particular position. She used to compare herself to 
little toy tumblers ; place her as you would she rolled over to the left 
side, as if there were a weight of lead there. 


This was, as some one observed, "the letter to a 
Queen from a Queen." It was enclosed to Lord 
Palmerston, 1 but, as a further precaution, she sent a 
copy to the Duke of Wellington, with the following 
letter : 


"February 12th, 1838. 

" MY DEAR DUKE, If you merit but half the feeling 
and eloquent praise I heard bestowed upon you 
shortly before I saw you, you are the last man in the 
world either to be offended or misconstrue my motives 
in writing to you upon the subject in question, or not 
to know how to account for the warmth of the expres- 
sions I may make use of, which are only characteristic 
of my disposition. 

" Your Grace's long residence in the East will have 
taught you that there is no common-rate character in 
England an adequate judge what manner of living best 
answers among a semi-barbarous people, and how 
little possible it is to measure one's expenses where 
frequent revolutions and petty wars are carried on 
without any provision for the sufferers, from its being 
considered the duty of every one to assist them, as 
their humanity may dictate or as their circumstances 
may afford. Acre besieged for seven months some 
days seventy-two thousand balls thrown in in the 
twenty-four hours at last taken by storm, and little 
more than two hundred of the garrison remaining, and 
the wretched inhabitants, who expected to find succour 
from their old friends, found their backs turned upon 
them, in the dread and awe they stood in of Ibrahim 
Pasha. And it is very strange to say that the Franks 
likewise held back in a most extraordinary manner. 
Therefore these unhappy people had no resource but 

1 I have no copy of her letter to Lord Palmerston ; only his reply 
(see p. 399). 

1838] DJOUN 351 

in me, and I did the best I could for them all. 
Mahomet All, Ibrahim Pasha, Sheriff Pasha, all set at 
me at once, in order to make me give up certain 
persons, who immediately would have lost their heads 
for having fought well in the cause in which they 
were engaged. I fought them all round, single-handed, 
and said that I neither protected these persons in the 
English or the French name, but in my own, as a poor 
Arab, who would not give up an unhappy being but 
with their own life ; that there was no other chance of 
making me bend by any other means than by attempt- 
ing mine. 

" By these means I saved some unfortunate beings, 
whom I got rid of by degrees, by sending them back 
to their own country, or providing for them at a 
distance in some way or other. Can you, as a soldier, 
blame me for what I have done ? I should have 
acted in the same way, before your eyes, to the victims 
of your own sword. Then the host of orphans, and 
widows, and little children, whom to feed and clothe 
for nearly two years took away all the ready money 
with which I ought in part to have paid my debts, 
and caused new ones. Yet I am no swindler, and 
will not appear like one. Your Queen had no busi- 
ness to meddle with my affairs. In due time, please 
God, I should have known how to arrange to satisfy 
everybody, even if I left myself a beggar. If she 
pretended to have a right to stop my pension, I resign 
it altogether, as well as the name of an English 
subject, for there is no family has served their country 
and the Crown more faithfully than . mine has done ; 
and I am not inclined to be treated with moins cfegards 
than was formerly shown to a gentlemanlike high- 

" I have been, every day, in expectation of a reply 


from Sir Francis Burdett, respecting a large property 
which is said to have been left me in Ireland, and 
which has been concealed from me for many years. 
In case of its coming into my hands, I shall still not 
keep my pension, in order to cut off any communi- 
cation with the English Government, from whom only 
proceed acts of folly, which, any moment, may re- 
bound upon an individual. I chose Sir Francis 
Burdett to look into my affairs because I believe him 
to be a truly conscientious, honest man. Although 
we always disagreed upon politics, we were always 
the best friends. It appears to me that he is now 
beginning to see things in their proper light. 

" You may say that it is strange that I apply to 
a person out of my own family. My brother, Lord 
S., having dined with Lord Holland to meet Mr. 
Fox, when Mr. Pitt was on his deathbed, when I 
regretted this unhappy inadvertency (which I be- 
lieved it to be), I was so shocked with the cold- 
blooded answer he gave me that, in the agitation of 
my feelings, I made a vow never to see him again. 
This I have kept, and have had no conversation or 
communication with him since the period of Mr. Pitt's 

" Therefore, all that I have to entreat of your Grace 
is to allow me to appear in the light in which I really 
stand attached to humanity, and attached to royalty, 
and attached to the claims that one human being 
has upon another. Nor can I allow myself to be 
deemed an intriguer, because I have said here in all 
societies, that persons who abet those who attempt 
to shake the throne of Sultan Mahmoud, shake the 
throne of their own sovereign, and therefore commit 
high treason, and among that class of persons I do 
not choose to rank myself. Nor am I to be reckoned 

1838] DJOUN 353 

an incendiary, because I seek to vindicate my own 
character, that never was marked with either base- 
ness or folly it may have been, perhaps, with too 
little consideration for what are called in the world 
my own interests, which I, in fact, despise, or at least 
only consider in a secondary point of view. 

" There is no one more capable of making the 
Queen understand that a Pitt is a unique race than 
your Grace. There is no trifling with them. 

" I have sent a duplicate of the enclosed letter to 
the Queen to my Lord Palmerston, through the hands 
of Mr. Moore, the English Consul. If it has not 
reached her safe, I hope you will see that this one 
does, or otherwise I shall put it in the Augsburg/i 
Gazette, or in some American newspaper. 

" If Lord Wellesley has not forgot that I always 
was and shall be among his great admirers, say what- 
ever you may think most pleasing to him from me. 
It is a homage to his merit, and to the friendship 
Mr. Pitt bore him. 

" I have the honour to remain, 
" My dear Duke, 

" with great truth and regard, 

" the attached friend of your family, 

The Duke at once communicated this letter to my 
brother, who, at his request, drew up the Memor- 
andum here given. 

"Mayzisf, 1838. 

" It appears on enquiry that the letter which Lady 
H. Stanhope has addressed to the Q. has already been 
laid before H.M. by Lord Palmerston, and it is there- 
fore unnecessary that the D. of W. should forward 
the copy which Lady H. has transmitted to him. 


" It is much lamented that Lady H. Stanhope's 
feelings should be wounded by what has passed ; but 
she may be assured that there was not the slightest 
intention to show her Ladyship anything approaching 
to slight or discourtesy. On the contrary, it is be- 
lieved that the course taken was entirely consistent 
with, nay even prompted by, the high respect due to 
Lady Hester's rank and sex, and to the niece of Pitt ; 
and it is earnestly hoped that she herself, on recon- 
sideration of the subject, may incline to a more 
favourable view than she has hitherto adopted. 

" The claims upon her Ladyship were so repeatedly 
urged upon Colonel Campbell at Alexandria, and 
pleaded in bar of other claims by British upon 
Egyptian subjects, that it became the duty of Col. 
Campbell to make representations to Lord Palmer- 
ston ; and when the subject came to be considered 
at home, it was borne in mind that, admitting Lady 
Hester's debts to have been incurred in the cause 
of humanity and science admitting that the delay 
in paying them had arisen from accidental and chari- 
table causes yet, that these motives would not be 
appreciated by the creditors themselves, and that 
further delay would expose her Ladyship to having 
the affair taken up, in a violent and vindictive manner, 
by the native tribunals. 

"Her Ladyship is entreated to reflect how unde- 
sirable it would be that these tribunals should be 
allowed to claim or exercise jurisdiction over her; 
yet how could it be effectually prevented unless some 
steps were taken for the adjustment of the matter 
at issue ? 

" It is also respectfully submitted to Lady Hester 
that her recollection is not accurate in the mention 
which she makes of Lord Stanhope, in her letter to 


the Duke of Wellington, as having dined with Lord 
Holland while Mr. Pitt was on his deathbed. It is 
positively affirmed by Lord Stanhope that, so far 
from this being the fact, he was not even acquainted 
with Lord Holland until some time after Mr. Pitt's 

I may here mention, that when this absurd story 
afterwards appeared in print, my father felt himself 
obliged to write the following letter to the Times : 

" SIR, I regret that it should be necessary for me, 
in justification of my own character, to notice an 
assertion made in ' The Memoirs of Lady Hester 
Stanhope, as related by herself in conversations with 
her Physician' (Vol. II., p. 296), that I went to dine 
in company with Mr. Fox, when Mr. Pitt was on his 
deathbed. This is utterly unfounded, for I never 
dined in company with Mr. Fox, and never had any 
personal acquaintance with him ; and at the period 
referred to I dined at Mr. Pitt's house in Downing 
Street with a large party, assembled as usual before 
the meeting of Parliament. There are in those 
Memoirs several other misrepresentations and mis- 
statements concerning myself, which I forbear to 
mention, as they relate to private and family affairs. 

" I may also express my concern that any physician 
should have considered it as consistent with his sense 
of propriety to publish the report of conversations 
between himself and one of his patients. 

" I am, Sir, your faithful humble servant, 


I think this affords a curious instance of the growth 
of an hallucination in Lady Hester's mind, owing to 
the tricks her treacherous memory played her. She 
had a recollection that my father had dined out during 


Mr. Pitt's illness could it have been with Lord 
Holland ? it surely was ; no doubt to meet Mr. Fox ! 
it would have been like him to go there, ungrateful 
as he was to all who had ever befriended him. Yes, 
yes ! now she remembered now it was all clear ! He 
had gone to meet Mr. Fox, and that was why she had 
quarrelled with him ! 

Two other letters of Lady Hester's are of the same 

Lady Hester to Mr. Speaker Abercromby 


^February I2t/t, 1838. 

" MY DEAR SIR, Probably the wheel horse has 
forgotten his driver, but the latter has not forgotten 
him. 1 I am told that the chief weight of the carriage 
of state bears upon you ; if so, it must be a ponderous 
one indeed, if I can judge by a specimen of the talent 
of those who guide it. 

"You, who have read and thought a great deal 
upon men and manners, must be aware that there 
are situations, almost unknown in Europe, in which 
persons in what is called a semi-barbarous country 
cannot extricate themselves with honour without 
either taking a part for or against humanity ; besides, 
there are gusts of information which, if you do not 
take advantage of at the moment, are lost to you for 
ever. I have, therefore, exceeded my pecuniary 
means, but not without the hope of extricating myself 
without the assistance of any one, or, at least (and 
ever before my eyes, should the worst come to the 
worst), that of selling the reversion of what I possess. 
Your magnificent Queen has made me appear like a 
bankrupt in the world, and partly like a swindler, 
having given strict orders that one usurer's account 

1 This alludes to her childhood, when she played at horses with 
Mr. Abercromby. 

1838] DJOUN 357 

must be paid immediately or my pension stopped, 
without taking into consideration others who have 
equal claims upon me. Her Majesty has not thrown 
the gauntlet before a driveller or a coward. Those 
who are advisers of these steps cannot be wise 
men. . . . 

" Whatever men's political opinions may be, if they 
act from conscientious motives, I have always re- 
spected them, and you know that I have always had 
friends in all parties. Therefore, without any refer- 
ence to the present or past political career of ministers, 
or H.M.'s advisers, their conduct would appear to 
me, respecting myself, identically as it was gentle- 
manlike or blackguard. But having had but too 
strong a specimen of the latter, by their attempting 
to bully a Pitt and to place me under consular control, 
it is sufficient for me to resign the name of an English 
subject, for the justice granted to the slave of des- 
potism far exceeds that which has been shown to me. 

" Believe me, with esteem and regard, 

" Yours, 

Lady Hester to Sir Edward Sugden 


"February 12th, 1838. 

" SIR, Born an aristocrat (for this assurance I re- 
ceived from your father, whom it appeared to annoy 
as much as it delighted me), with these genuine 
feelings it will not be necessary for me to make 
many excuses for bringing so abruptly before you a 
subject which relates to this cause as well as that of 

11 1 will not bore you with long details, for it will 
be sufficient for you to know that after my arrival 


in the East 1 was not regarded by any class of persons 
with the same eye of suspicion as strangers generally 
are. I have had it in my power, without making use 
of intrigue or subterfuge on my part, or hurting the 
religious or political feelings of others in any way, 
to hear and investigate things which had never yet 
been investigated. This fortunate circumstance does 
not relate to those who profess Islamism alone, but 
to all the curious religions (not sects) which are to 
be found in different parts of the East. Not that I 
have learned the secrets of one religion to betray them 
to another: on the contrary, I have observed an in- 
violable silence with all ; but it has served to en- 
lighten, as well as consolidate, my own ideas, and 
given me an opportunity of seeking corroboratory 
evidence of many wonderfully important and abstract 
things, which has hitherto been very satisfactory. 

" The revolutions and public calamities, which often 
take place in what is called a semi-barbarous country, 
call for great presence of mind and energy, and a 
degree of humanity and liberality unknown in Europe. 
To leave unfortunate sufferers starving at your gate 
until you have had an opportunity of inquiring into 
their private character, and investigating how far it 
is likely to endanger your own life or risk your pro- 
perty in receiving them these reflections are not 
made in the East. One takes one's chance, and if one 
wishes to keep up one's character of either an Eastern 
monarch or an Eastern peasant, you must treat even 
an enemy in misfortune avec les memes egards that 
you would a friend. Starting upon this principle 
(which is, indeed, a natural one, and was always 
mine), there were times in which I have been obliged 
to spend more money than I could well afford, and 
this has been the cause of my incurring debt ; not 


that I owe a farthing to a poor peasant or a trades- 
man, but all to usurers and rascals that have lent 
their money out at an exorbitant interest. You may 
judge of their conscience : in their last levy of troops, 
made about two months ago by Ibrahim Pasha, some 
rich peasants gave one hundred per cent, for six 
months for money to buy off their sons who were 

" I often abuse the English ; and for why ? Because 
they have nearly lost their national character. The 
aristocracy is a proud, morose, inactive class of men, 
having no great fundamental principles to guide them, 
and not half the power that they give to themselves 
very little more worthy of being trusted by their 
Sovereign than by the people full of ideas, all 
egotistical, and full of their own importance and 
weight, in a country which may differ from an ounce 
to a pound in twenty-four hours by the wavering 
political line of conduct which they may observe 
during that time, and which neither secures the con- 
fidence of the people nor the friendship of their 
Sovereign. And these columns of state may be 
reckoned a sort of ministers without responsibility, 
but who ought to be willing at all times to make 
every possible sacrifice for the honour of the Crown, 
and for the good of the people in cases of emergency 
and misfortune. 

" Had I been an English peer, do you suppose I 
would have allowed the Duke of York's debts to 
remain unpaid? I should have laid down a large 
sum, and engaged my brethren to have done the 
same. If I had not succeeded, I should have broken 
my coronet, and have considered myself of neither 
greater nor smaller importance than the sign of a 
duke's head in front of a public-house. But, ever 


willing to come forward with my life and property, 
I should expect that the Sovereign should treat me 
with respect, and not act with the egregious folly 
and want of feeling and etiquette which has distin- 
guished the enlightened Queen Victoria in her pro- 
ceedings towards me. 

" I have been written to by the Consul-General for 
Egypt and Syria, Colonel Campbell, that if I do not 
pay one of my numerous creditors I shall be deprived 
of my pension. I should like to see that person 
come forward who dares to threaten a Pitt. Having 
given themselves a supposed right over the pension 
they may take it all. In the early part of my life 
there was nothing I feared so much as plague, ship- 
wreck, and debts ; it has been my fate to suffer from 
them all. Respecting my debts, of course I had ex- 
pectations of their being settled; but if I was de- 
ceived in those expectations I kept in view the sale 
of my pension, as well as of an annuity of 1,500 a 
year, left me by my brother, if the worst came to the 
worst. The importance of the plan 1 was pursuing 
must, as you can easily imagine, have appeared most 
arbitrary, from my coolly deliberating that the moment 
might arrive when I should make myself a beggar. 
But I should have done my duty. What sort of right, 
then, had the Queen to meddle in my affairs, and to 
give orders, in total ignorance of the subject, upon 
the strength of an appeal from a man whose claims 
might be half fabulous, and to offer me the indignity 
of forbidding a foreign consul to sign the certificate 
that I was among the number of the living in order 
to get my pension into her hands? I shall never 
forgive this gross act of illegality, nor the vulgarity 
with which it was executed. I have written a few 
lines on the subject, and there is my final determina- 

1838] DJOUN 361 

tion : ' I shall give up my pension, and with it the 
name of an English subject and the slavery that is 
entailed upon it.' I have too much confidence in the 
great Disposer of all things, and in the magnificent 
star that has hitherto borne me above the heads of 
my enemies, to feel that I have done a rash act. I 
can be anything but ignoble, or belie the origin from 
which I sprung. 

" I have been assured by those not likely to deceive 
me that a large property has been left me in Ireland, 
which has been concealed from me by my relations. 
I have put this business into the hands of Sir Francis 
Burdett ; but should I in future require a law opinion 
upon the subject, you will not, I hope, take it ill that 
I should apply to your superior talents for advice. 

"There is a horrible jealousy existing respecting 
the friendship between me and M. H. Guys, the 
French Consul at Beyrout. His grandfather, a learned 
old philosopher, was in constant correspondence with 
the great Lord Chesterfield. It was natural, there- 
fore, that his son, the present M. Guys' father, should 
feel interested about me when I first came into the 
country, and M. Henry Guys has always put into 
execution his father's friendly intentions towards me. 
He is a very respectable man, and stands very high 
in the estimation of all classes of persons ; and as at 
one time there was no English consul or agent at 
Sayda, the French agent sent a certificate of my life 
four times a year to England. At the death of this 
man M. Guys sent it himself. If you honour me 
with a reply, I request you to address your letter to 
him (aux soins de M. le Chevalier H. Guys, Consul 
de France a Beyrout), notwithstanding he has been 
named for Aleppo, as it is the only way I am likely 
to receive my letters unopened, or perhaps at all." 


As spring approached, Lady Hester's health rapidly 
improved ; her cough abated, her spirits revived, and 
she was at length released from her long and dreary 
confinement. In March she was sitting in her 
favourite alcove in the garden, then full of nightingales 
and spring flowers, blossoming in all the lavish 
luxuriance of the East. " A sofa covered with maroon- 
coloured cloth, and flowered chintz cushions, ran 
across the back of the alcove. On this she was 
leaning, and, dressed in her white abba, with its large 
folds, she looked exactly like the statue of an antique 
Roman matron. Halfway up the avenue stood an 
attendant in a handsome white Nizam dress, which is 
exceedingly becoming to youth, waiting her call. As 
I advanced towards her, between two hedges, the 
one of double jessamine in full bud, and the other 
of bright green periwinkle, with its blue flowers, 
forming an azure band from one end to the other, I 
was struck with the magical illusion which she ever 
contrived to throw around herself in the commonest 
circumstances of life." 

She held in her hand a letter she had that morning 
received. " Do you know, doctor," she said, " that 
Prince Piickler Muskau has just arrived at Sayda, and 
has written me a very agreeable, and I think a very 
sincere letter ? Read it, and say what you think of it." 
When he had done so, she resumed : " Now, doctor, 
you must go and see the Prince at Sayda, for I can't 
see him myself. The fatigue is too great for the 
present ; but I will engage him to return again when I 
am better." He was one of the last visitors that came 
to Djoun. 

Another letter from England had likewise arrived 
again not from Sir Francis ; but this time a kind and 
friendly letter, written by her cousin, Lord Ebrington, 
to which she sent the following reply : 

Lady Hester to Lord Ebrington 

" March 29^, 1838. 

" MY DEAR LORD EBRINGTON, Your letter of the 26th 
of December reached me on the 22nd of March, a few 
days ago. It gave me great satisfaction to find you 
had not altogether forgotten me or my interests. I 


am so ignorant of what passes in England, generally 
speaking, that I was not aware that pensions were to 
be revised. The first I heard of it was a traveller 
having mentioned, about a fortnight ago, that such 
was the intention of Government. But as I did not see 
him, I had no opportunity of enquiring into par- 
ticulars. You tell me that you are upon the committee, 
and that whatever I have to say respecting my 
pension, I had better write it to you. I have nothing 
to say. You can hardly suppose that I would owe a 
pension to the commiseration of a pettifogging com- 
mittee when I refused Mr. Fox's liberal proposition of 
securing me a handsome income by a grant of Parlia- 
ment. Neither should I, under any circumstances, 
lower the name of my dear old King or my own by 
giving any explanation. It was H.M.'s pleasure to 
give me a pension that is sufficient, or ought to be 
sufficient. New-coined Royalties I do not understand, 
nor do I wish to understand them, nor any of their 
proceedings. My ultimatum respecting my pension I 
have given to the Duke of Wellington, founded upon 
the impudent letter of Colonel Campbell, a copy of 
which I enclose. 

" Believe me, my dear Lord, 
" Sincerely yours, 


In the following month the German Prince arrived, 
and spent a whole week at Djoun. He has left a 
detailed account of his visit, which was published in 
Brief e eines Verstorbemn (Berlin, 1846). 

"Even before I found myself within a few hours' 
ride of Lady Hester Stanhope's mountain home, I had 
made up my mind not to leave Syria before I had seen 


and spoken with this remarkable woman ; though 
during these latter years, especially since the visit of M. 
Lamartine (the published account of which she highly 
resented), she had absolutely refused to receive 
strangers. Only quite recently two celebrated men, 
Clot Bey and Dr. Bowring, had, in spite of all imagin- 
able efforts on their part, fared no better than the 
rest. I began by writing a rather singular, half 
emotional, half deferential letter to this lady, described 
as ires exaltee" 

Prince Puckler Muskau to Lady Hester 

"March 2ot/i t 1838. 

" MY LADY, Sachant que vous n'aimez gueres les 
visites des etrangers, n'y ayant souvent rencontre 
qu'une vaine curiosite et quelquefois meme de 1'indis- 
cr6tion, je vous avoue franchement, Madame, que ce 
n'est qu'en tremblant que je vous demande a mon 
tour la permission de vous rendre mes devoirs. 
Cependant permettez-moi de vous dire que depuis de 
longues annees mon imagination a anticipe le plaisir 
de vous connaitre, et que ce serait un vrai acte de 
cruaute de votre part, si vous pouviez a present, oil ce 
moment tant desire est enfin arrive, me refuser le bon- 
heur de presenter mes respects a la Reine de Palmyre, 
et a la niece du grand Pitt. 

"Au reste, j'ose encore ajouter que d'apres ce que 
j'ai entendu dire de vous, Madame, il doit regner 
quelque affinite entre nos caracteres : car, comme vous, 
my Lady, je ne cherche notre salut futur que dans 
1'Orient, dont les populations, encore plus pres de 
Dieu et de la nature, peuvent seules raffraichir un jour 
cette civilisation pourrie de la vieille Europe oil tout 
est factice, et qui nous menace sous peu d'un nouveau 
genre de barbaric, non pas celle du commencement 

1838] DJOUN 365 

mais celle de la fin : comme vous, Madame, je crois 
que 1'astrologie n'est pas une vaine science, mais une 
science perdue : comme vous, my Lady, je suis 
aristocrate de naissance et par principe, parceque je 
trouve partout dans la nature 1'aristocratie la plus 
prononcee : comme vous enfin, Madame, j'aime a 
veiller la nuit et dormir le jour. La je m'arrete : car, 
pour le genie, la force de caractere, la vie grande et 
singuliere que vous avez menee, ne resemble pas a 
Lady Stanhope qui veut. 

" Je finis cette lettre, qui doit vous paraitre deja trop 
longue, en vous priant instamment, de ne pas prendre 
pour des phrases ce que m'a dicte un coeur encore naif 
et ingenu, quoique vieux. Je ne suis ni Francais ni 
Anglais ; je ne suis qu'un bon et simple Allemand, 
qu'on peut peut-etre taxer de trop d'enthousiasme, 
mais jamais ni de flatterie ni de mauvaise foi. 


" P.S. Dans le cas que vous consentiez a me 
recevoir, oserais-je vous prier encore de me faire 
accompagner par le Comte de Tattenbach, jeune 
homme a mon service, qui me verroit partir seul avec 
trop de regrets pour ne pas risquer encore cette 
demande? Quoique blesse assez severement d'un 
coup de pistolet, il n'a pu etre retenu a Acre, pour ne 
pas manquer 1'occasion de vous presenter ses hom- 
mages. Cependant, que votre volonte, my Lady, soit 
faite en tout, et non pas la mienne." 

41 This letter remained for eight days unanswered. 
During this interval I kept quite silent. Then ap- 
peared an apparently thoroughly Orientalized, richly- 
dressed English doctor, who announced himself as 
Lady Hester's physician, and came to tell me she was 
too ill to receive visitors. This doctor, in spite of his 


conspicuous costume, 1 proved a simple, amiable, well- 
bred man ; and I told him how much I regretted Lady 
Hester's illness, but should await her recovery, even 
if I had to wait for years. Then we talked of other 
things, and I presented to him two pretty Abyssinian 
slave-girls, of whom he had already heard, and whose 
chatter in Arabic seemed to please him so much that I 
felt sure he would comply with my parting request, to 
come again often. This he did ; and during the few 
weeks that he visited me, either at Beyrout or Sayda, 
we became such fast friends that he exchanged the part 
of a diplomatic agent for that of a staunch ally. I 
therefore entrusted him with a second billet doux to the 
invisible Lady, making it as original as I possibly 
could ; and this time, to my great joy, I received a 
charming answer, full of humour and wit, but still 
declining to see me, on the ground of health. Thence- 
forward, with studied importunity, I wrote daily to 
Lady Hester, occasionally saying all manner of extra- 
vagant things, till at last she gave in, declaring, half in 
anger and half in jest, that I must be ' quite foolish ' to 
pursue an old woman like her with such incredible 
pertinacity, and that, only to be rid of me, she would 
receive me at Dar Joon on the following Sunday. 

" This did not wholly satisfy me ; for my object was, 
if possible, not only to be endured but wished for by 
this eccentric lady. So I ventured to send a very cool 
response, regretting that I had already fixed that day 

1 If the Prince found fault with the doctor's appearance, he was in 
his turn freely critized by the latter. " The Prince is a tall man, about 
fifty years of age. I found him dressed in a loose morning gown, 
with white trousers, and a yellow scarf thrown over his shoulders 
somewhat for effect, with a casquette on, and having the air and 
demeanour of what he was a man of the world and of high rank. He 
had a chameleon crawling about on the tube of his pipe and on his 
chair ; and every now and then his exclamation of Oil done est le 
camtlton f oil est man petit bijou ? made me fear at first we were going 
to have a second edition of M. Lamartine and his lapdog." 

1838] DJOUN 367 

for an excursion into the country, and begging her to 
appoint another ; requesting, at the same time, per- 
mission to spend not only one day, but several days 
with her. I wished this all the more, I added, because 
I had more important communications to make than she 
was aware of. It was rather comical to carry out 
Goethe's axiom, ' Provoke and beguile,' so successfully 
with a sexagenarian dame." 

None of this coquetry of correspondence appears in 
the doctor's matter-of-fact narrative. Lady Hester, it 
seems, was very willing to receive the Prince had she 
been well enough. She had heard of him as a literary 
man, engaged on writing his travels, and she hoped he 
might help her in laying her case before the world. 
She was pleased with his letter. " I can see," she said, 
" that he and I shall dp very well together ; besides, I 
must be very civil to him, for he has got such a tongue 
and such a pen ! I think I shall invite him to come 
and see the garden and the horses ; but you must tell 
him the mare's back is not only like a natural saddle, 
but that there are two backbones for a spine ; that is 
the most curious part. But no ! if he comes he will 
fill my house with people, and I shall be worried to 
death ; it will only make me ill ; so I will write to him 
after dinner." 

Lady Hester to Prince Puckler Muskau 

"Joon, March 21, 1838. 

" I trust, Prince," she wrote, " you will believe me 
when I say I am overwhelmed with regret that my 
health will not permit of my having, at this moment, 
the honour of making the acquaintance of a philosopher 
and a philanthropist such as you are. You may ask 
everybody whether for these last five months I have 
seen a single soul, except M. Guys once ; and although 
in that once I every now and then retired for a few 
moments to my room to recover myself, and then 
returned to him again, yet after he was gone I had a 
relapse of some days. I would willingly purchase at 


the same price the pleasure of seeing you ; but, in 
doing so, it might incapacitate me for some months 
longer from managing a very disagreeable business 
that has sprung up between the Queen, the English 
Government, and myself; they pretending to meddle 
with my affairs, which, be assured, is what I will not 

" As my natural energy would not suffer me to 
converse tranquilly when things sublime and of the 
highest importance would be our subjects, we must 
give up meeting for the present ; but I console myself 
with the hope that your Highness will not leave Syria 
until I have had an opportunity of appreciating a man 
different, they say, from other men, and of making the 
acquaintance of your young Count, who, in devoting 
himself to your principles, necessarily secures one's 
admiration of his character. 


She found, however, that the Prince was " not to be 
put off." He persevered, and she finally agreed to 
receive him on his return from an expedition into the 
interior ; but it was after much hesitation. There was 
not only the dread of fatigue but the question of 
expense. She had no money in the house ; she owed 
her servants several months' wages, and on the news 
that her pension was stopped, every petty trader in 
the bazaars was putting forward his claim. How was 
she to receive her guests ? " How am I to lodge the 
Prince and accommodate his people ? And his dinners, 
with a wretched cook, and nothing of any sort fit for a 
man of rank ! No, doctor, it will not dp ! " The doctor 
suggested she might put off the visit. "Oh, but, 
doctor ! " she answered, " his book, his book ! I must 
see him, if it is only to have some things written down. 
Is it not cruel to be left here as I am, without one 
relation ever coming to see me ? To think of the time 
when the Duke of Buckingham would not even let a 
servant go to order an ice for me, but must go himself 
and see it brought and now ! " 

1838] DJOUN 369 

Lady Hester to Prince Puckler Muskau 

" I find your Highness to be a great philosopher, but 
nevertheless a very unreasonable man. Is your object 
in coming here to laugh at a poor creature reduced by 
sickness to skin and bone, who has lost half her sight 
and all her teeth ? or is it to hear true philosophy ? 
Alas ! at this moment a terrible cough puts it out of 
my power even to speak during the greater part of the 
twenty-four hours. But I will not be stubborn, and if 
you will consent to put off your visit for eight or ten 
days I will receive you then, even if my health should 
be no better, that you may fulfil the object of your 
visit. However, I hope, as the fine weather is at hand, 
and as I now begin to get a little sleep, which I have 
not done for many months past, that I shall be able to 
converse with you for some hours at a time. . . . 

"Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday, will be 
the days most propitious for our first meeting. I 
should prefer Monday or Thursday, according to the 
calculation I have made of your star and your character. 
So, Prince, depart in peace ; only, when you return, 
write a little before to apprize me of it. 


The Prince accordingly announced his arrival for 
Easter Sunday, April 15. He was preceded by " two 
European servants, followed by three or four mule- 
loads of baggage." Close upon these arrived seven or 
eight more mules with his Tartar, the Count's servant, 
and the drivers : " in all," groans the poor doctor, 
" thirteen animals to keep ! " Then appeared the 
Prince and his suite. 

" It was a beautiful day," he writes, " such as is only 
known in the favoured South, the air so ' silver-clear ' 
(as Lamartine, with too great licentia poetica, expresses 



it), that one fancied one could see through the moun- 
tains, when I, attended (by Lady Hester's express 
desire) by my whole train of slaves and servants, 
mounted the winding road that led to the little fortress 
of Dar Joon. We had hitherto been crossing barren 
and stony mountains, with here and there a few trees 
and brushwood. Here, in the valley, there was more 
cultivation, partly on laboriously-raised terraces, and 
in the midst, surrounded by the dusty bed of a dried-up 
mountain torrent, rose a steep cone, on whose summit, 
within an encircling wall, appeared the roofs of several 
detached buildings. Here it was the Lady dwelt. 

" As the gates opened, I was received by my friend 
the doctor, and installed in a little pavilion, surrounded 
by gardens, and entered by a green verandah covered 
with climbing roses as comfortable as it was rural. 

" During a rapidly-served meal Dr. Meryon told me 
that Lady Hester hoped I would stay eight days with 
her. She was, however, seldom visible before midnight, 
consequently, he added, smiling, ' your visit will be 
eight nights rather than eight days.' ' Capital ! ' I 
cried ; ' this not only suits the land of The Thousand 
and One Nights, but my own habits, for I enact the 
night watchman wherever I go, and I assure you I 
shall look forward with real impatience to my midnight 

" The usual siesta, more refreshing than a night's 
rest in this climate, filled up the interval, and at the 
appointed hour my Turco-English guide appeared to 
conduct me to his mistress. A black slave-girl lighted 
us through several passages and courts for Dar Joon 
consists of a number of small isolated dwellings, 
connected by verandahs till we reached the largest 
of all, inhabited by Lady Hester alone, and never 
entered without her express permission, a police 

1838] DJOUN 371 

regulation so rigidly enforced that even the Doctor 
hastily left me at the door. Here an old negress took 
charge of me, and led me along a nearly pitch-dark 
corridor to a thick red portiere, behind which shone a 
light that proved I was at last on the threshold of the 
long-sought sanctuary. My heart beat high with 
excitement, for, after all the romantic reports that I 
had heard, I imagined I was to see something fantastic 
and extraordinary. It was quite the reverse. In a 
small room, as simply furnished as the one assigned 
to me, on a very poor divan, sat the Lady of Dar Joon, 
evidently still suffering from the effects of a severe 
illness. She signed to me, very graciously, to take an 
English arm-chair opposite to her. 

" Our long correspondence had so far brought us 
together that we presently talked like old acquaintances, 
while I did not neglect to observe her very closely. 

" In spite of her evident weakness, she received me 
with great liveliness, and her whole demeanour was 
that of a woman of the world, in the European sense, 
with an elegance and grace of manner not of everyday 
occurrence among Englishwomen, which, combined 
with the Oriental dignity and repose of her bearing, 
gave her a peculiar charm. Instead of the splendidly- 
equipped retainers, prostrating themselves on the 
ground before their stern mistress, the one slave-girl 
who brought us pipes and coffee behaved as she would 
have done in any other well-ordered household, and 
there was no attempt at display. Lady Hester's own 
dress was simplicity itself. A red turban, a white 
burnous reaching to her feet, red silk Turkish trousers 
and stockings (for on these thick carpets slippers are 
not required), showed that she had long since discarded 
the tasteless Frank dress for the comfortable garb of 
the East. When she soon after rose, and, leaning on 


a long wand, crossed the room to show me something 
of which she had spoken, she looked to me like a Sibyl 
of old. The pale, regular features, the dark, flashing 
eyes, the tall, white-robed figure, with its head-gear of 
flaming red, the severe and stately mien, the sonorous 
and rather deep-toned voice, together produced a 
striking and really imposing effect, without the slightest 
shade of affectation. On the contrary, no one could 
be more natural or more real than I found Lady Hester 
from first to last. Hers was a strong, almost too 
masculine character, that despised every kind of 

" ' Since my fortune melted away,' she began, ' I live 
here like a dervish, and require no luxuries. The 
older I grow, the less, thank God ! I need, and the 
more eagerly I seek to draw nearer to nature, from 
which civilization too much estranges us. My roses 
(nowhere else have I seen such masses of roses as 
in the gardens of Dar Joon) ' are my jewels ; the sun, 
moon, and stars my clocks ; fruit and water my fare. 
Now, I read in your physiognomy,' she added, archly, 
'for I know how to interpret the stars, the plants, 
and the faces of men, that you are an epicure. How 
will you ever stand this life for eight whole days ?' 

" I could answer this the more becomingly, as I had 
already found that her guests were not condemned 
to a dish of fruit and water ; and I knew, too, that her 
poverty was at all events English poverty, pretty 
nearly equivalent to German wealth. Yet she was 
relatively poor, and latterly reduced to a sixth part 
of her former income. She afterwards gave me some 
details as to her affairs, and spoke with some bitterness 
of the harshness and ingratitude of her family. 

" But now my one wish was to lead her back to the 
stars, and in this I found no difficulty, for her belief 


in astrology was absolute. I, for my own part, respect 
all convictions, and though unable to follow Lady 
Hester in all her flights, I must confess that, when 
one has seen for one's self the inexplicable influence 
the moon exercises over certain individuals, there 
seems to be nothing unreasonable in attributing to 
the stars in general, and more especially to the planets 
of our solar system, some similar power over the 
natures, and consequently the destinies, of men. Nor 
will I summarily condemn as absurd Lady Hester's 
belief in a chain of invisible superior beings, whom 
we can as little understand as we do the inferior 
beings around us, yet with whom we may occasionally 
communicate. It is, I think, much more absurd to 
deny such things positively, and argues a degree of 
presumption of which I for one will not be guilty. 

" ' Were we better versed in astrology,' said Lady 
Hester, ' and more familiar with the needs and qualities 
prefigured by such and such a constellation to man at 
his birth, how greatly it would benefit life, art, and 
science ! The ancients, though but few of them 
attained a deeper insight, had an instinctive per- 
ception of this. That is why they excelled in art. I 
recognise in their works the harmonious law of the 
stars. The godlike forms they portrayed are free 
from all incongruities and anomalies, whereas a 
modern artist will constantly plant either an eye, 
a nose, or a mouth in a face where, according to the 
ruling of the constellations, they could never exist, 
or a head on limbs that form an equally impossible 
combination. But then, how much more important is 
this knowledge in life ! We should not see half as 
many failures of vocation, of misapplied or wasted 
talent, if we better understood what our star ordains 
and fits us to be. You may believe my long experi- 


ence. Many a medicine that cures one man will, 
under apparently exactly similar circumstances, kill 
another. For instance, what is good for the Children 
of the Sun is highly dangerous to the Children of 
the Moon ; and there are numberless gradations and 
distinctions that astrology alone can help us to dis- 
tinguish. I will go so far as to affirm that even a 
verbal communication may enlighten one man and 
ruin another. In this consists the magic power of 
words, believed in throughout the East. Therefore, 
in our present state of ignorance, education becomes 
blind guesswork, and we fall back, in spite of all, to 
be what the stars decided we should be at our birth. 

" ' Everyone is born under the influence of one or 
more stars, on whose position in the heavens in con- 
junction with the earth at the hour of their nativity 
much will depend, as well as on the vicinity of other 
stars, either beneficent or malevolent in character. 
The Angel or Spirit of the Star acts upon all who 
belong to it. Besides this, everyone is nearly con- 
nected with an allied Spirit of the Air, an animal 
also allied to him, a precious stone, metal, tree, fruit, 
flower, medicinal herb, etc. sometimes, indeed, tc! 
several ; and to a devil. Don't be shocked,' con- 
tinued the Pythoness, laughing ; ' it is sometimes verj 
good and very useful to have an efficient devil at one's 
beck and call. All at the appointed time. 

" ' Those born under the influence of the stars ma} 
be of four separate categories, and many differen 
natures, sometimes very unlike each other; and ii 
trifles these differences may, like everything else ii 
Nature, be multiplied a millionfold, yet in essential 
each individual will remain unchangeable, governe< 
by the constellation that ruled at his birth ; as, fo 
instance, a ship, driven by the winds to every quarte 


of the heavens, is still guided by the helmsman on 
its prescribed course. It is from the action of the 
stars that man receives not only his direction in life, 
but his nature and constitution, his qualities and 
talents, his tendency to certain vices and virtues, 
and his sicknesses either of body or soul, though 
these may be modified by the other beings and ob- 
jects related to him. Whatever changes are brought 
about in the course of years in reality are but apparent, 
or the result of compulsion, which is no sooner 
withdrawn than the original bent reasserts itself. 

" ' I have learnt by long practice and experience to 
recognise, with tolerable certainty, everyone's guiding 
star from their personal appearance ; but the deeper 
calculations, which require greater knowledge and 
higher qualities than have fallen to my lot, remain 
unattainable to me. Though I discern many hidden 
things, I cannot foretell with certainty either coming 
events or the time when they will take place, which 
to an adept is easy. There are some favoured men 
on whom their star works so powerfully, that we who 
are initiated can see it impressed on their foreheads ; 
though I myself, in my long life, have only met with 
one case of this kind. It is the nimbus or glory that 
has always surrounded the heads of great prophets 
and holy men, and its recognition rests on a fore- 
shadowing or foreboding, however incomplete, of this 
grand secret.'" 

On this subject, 1 as on many others, Lady 

1 She cast the Prince's horoscope, and gave him, much to his 
satisfaction, the dog and the horse as his animals, the rose and 
carnation as his flowers, the ruby and sapphire as his precious stones, 
and gold and iron as his metals. "All this was perfectly correct. 
The medicines did not suit me as well. As regards the stars, 
modesty forbids me to mention them. I will only say that they 
corresponded with my family motto, amor et virtus." 


Hester proved inexhaustible ; yet the Prince declares 

11 During the eight days I was at Dar Joon, spending 
every night six or eight hours with Lady Hester, I 
may truly say I never felt a moment's fatigue or 
ennui. I might fill whole volumes with accounts of 
these conversations, and after each of them I felt 
more and more attracted to this most remarkable 
woman, who combined with an iron character such 
childlike belief in the marvellous ; and with a pro- 
found knowledge of men and of the world, such 
touching traits of naivete as are generally met with 
only in a young girl. Her memory, reaching 
back unimpaired to her earliest years, is perfectly 

She recounted to him all her travels and adventures, 
but he gives only the following anecdote in detail. 
I must premise that this and the very similar story 
she told Mr. Kinglake are evidently founded on the 
adventure described by Mr. Bruce, who was present 
(see p. 163), and show by their inaccuracy the extreme 
haziness of her recollections. Even the name of the 
Bedouin Sheick who escorted her is wrongly given. 
It was Mohanna el iFadel's son Nasar, and not his 
son-in-law Dayr. 

" Once, during the war between Dayr and his future 
father-in-law, she travelled to Palmyra, accompanied 
by Dayr himself, with an escort of three hundred men. 
Dayr seemed very anxious; and at one particular 
spot, where he thought he discerned indications of 
an enemy near at hand, he begged Lady Hester to 
halt. She would be safe there for the time, and 
must wait while he and his followers proceeded to 
reconnoitre. She accordingly remained behind with 
her own attendants, but refused to get off her horse. 


Both she and they were armed to the teeth. After 
an hour's delay, which appeared interminable, they 
suddenly heard the frightful war-whoop of the 
Bedouins, and saw a large body of horsemen bearing 
down upon them at full speed, their long lances all 
couched in battle array. Her attendants fled, panic- 
struck ; and she, left alone, in passionate indignation 
plucked her pistols from her girdle, and, holding them 
both at full cock, galloped with a loose rein to meet 
the Bedouins. But, just as she was about to fire, she 
recognized Dayr, who threw himself from his horse 
to kiss her hand ; and while his men formed a circle 
around them, proclaimed her, amid their deafening 
acclamations, Queen of Palmyra. The poor doctor 
was among the fugitives, and often, in consequence, 
exposed to her bitter sarcasms. 

" Her power became so great that it caused some 
uneasiness even at Constantinople ; and the great 
Emir Beshyr, then all-powerful in Syria, had to bow 
before her. ' I should have led eighty thousand Arabs 
against him,' she exclaimed, in evident pride. Then 
she showed me the celebrated Dayr's answer to her 
appeal to him as her ally ; at that time half the desert 
tribes owed allegiance to him, and he had just defeated 
the Wahabees in two great battles. He is the same 
prince so often mentioned in reference to M. de 
Lamartine's journey. The writing, enclosed in a 
gold-embroidered cover, was as follows : 

" ' Dayr, the Lion of the Desert, to Hester, the Star 
of the Morning, sends greeting, with love and service. 
Those who own the friendship of Mohanna-el-Fadel ' 
(another great chief, who, being conquered, became 
his ally and gave him his daughter in marriage), ' and 
obey the sabre of Dayr, hold the whole Great Desert 
in the hollow of their hand, even as the ring encircles 


the finger. Warriors without number, horses, camels, 
powder and shot, what is required for food, all is 
ready. Thou hast only to send thy orders. 

1 Thy true friend, 

1 DAYR.' 

" ' Was he your lover ? ' I asked rather heedlessly, 
but she answered without embarrassment, ' It has 
often been said of me, but it is not true. The Arabs 
have never looked upon me in the light either of a mar 
or of a woman, but as un etre a part. . . .' 

" She had the courage to refuse Ibrahim Pacha'j 
proffered visit; and when he attempted to force hei 
to receive him, she sent him word that she woulc 
defend her house, and that he should only cross it? 
threshold over her dead body. Ibrahim yielded ; am 
1 since then,' she added ironically, ' he has troubled mi 
far less than the English Consul has done.' She i: 
often unjust to the English, and it is no exaggeratioi 
to say that she has a real antipathy to her countrymen 
She treats the doctor, devoted and necessary to he 
as he is, with icy coldness; and his wife, who ha 
been living for years at Dar Joon, has never yet bee: 
admitted to her presence. 

" ' Ah ! once upon a time,' she said to me one da} 
'once upon a time I was full of ambitions and gran 
projects, but since the Egyptian intruders have com 
down upon us like a plague of locusts, it has please 
God to visit me, in my old age and sickness, wit 
much affliction and heavy trials. My mission is nc 
now to strive, but to await with resignation th 
coming of the Messiah, to which I have been Ion 
since summoned, as well as all they,' she adde 
significantly, ' who believe in Him.' 

" This brings me to the good Lady's idee fixe, 2 


undoubted and indisputable fact, but of which I take 
a different view from most other men. Good Lord ! 
in matters of faith those who differ should be scrupu- 
lously careful how they condemn others, lest the same 
measure should be meted out to them. Lady Hester 
believes, in common not only with the Jews, but the 
whole of the East, that the Messiah is still to come. 
We believe that He has already come. Lady Hester 
believes that, when He comes, He will work many 
miracles. We believe that these miracles have already 
been accomplished. Unquestionably we are right, and 
Lady Hester is wrong; but in principle we believe 
the same, only Lady Hester in futuro and we in 
prceterito. One might even, at a venture, attempt to 
reconcile these two different kinds of faith, by 
adopting the doctrine of the repeated return of 
the Messiah, which the Jewish-Catholic-Evangelical- 
Episcopal-Anglican missionary Wolff, for one, firmly 
believed ; and as he had passed through every form 
of Christianity gradatim, he must surely be accepted 
as an authority. . . . 

" Of course Lady Hester also showed me her two 
famous Messiah-mares, of whom one has a growth 
on the back very like a Turkish saddle. They are 
kept quite apart, in a separate and rather ornate 
building, with a summer stable, a winter stable, a 
court, and a garden. This is kept carefully locked 
and guarded by two black slaves. Twice a day the 
mares are led out for exercise in a larger grass plot, 
enclosed in a wall. The first time Count Tattenbach 
and I went to see them, they were standing loose in 
their garden, under an embroidered tent cover. Long 
accustomed to the homage of privileged visitors, they 
behaved just like two old princesses, obliged to grant 
an audience that bored them to death. Very slowly 


and indifferently they turned their heads and looked 
at us with an air of haughty repose. They were both 
finely formed and very good-looking animals, but had 
long since grown too fat. The more sacred of the two, 
that has the mystic saddle, is a dark chestnut, of which 
Lady Hester relates the most wonderful things, and 
has been well-nigh worshipped by many dervishes, 
as she is to carry the Messiah Himself on His entry 
into Jerusalem. The other, intended for Lady Hester 
on that great day, is a silver grey, with the head and 
eyes of a gazelle ; and I must say that, as an animal, 
I liked her points the best ; of her spiritual qualifica- 
tions I can offer no opinion. One day Lady Hester 
herself took me to see them ; and it chanced that the 
Messiah-mare, whom I was patting, licked my hand. 
From this moment she looked upon me as one of 
the elect, and laboured to convert me to her views; 
for proselytism seems to be inherent in the human 
race. . . . 

" Although, for many years past, Lady Hester has, 
except on urgent business, written very little, and 
read still less, yet the stirring and active life she 
has led, and her acquaintance with most of the leading 
men of the East, have enabled her to collect a vast 
store of curious information, of which her wonderful 
memory retains even the minutest details. No one 
would be better able to discourse on the opinions 
and customs of the Arabs, the different religious 
sects of the Levant, the mysterious creed of the 
Druses, the folk-lore, mythology, and even the history 
of these various races, and throw a fresh light on all 
these subjects. But she would only touch upon them 
lightly, as if resolved not to discuss them, and in- 
variably turned the conversation. If I attempted to 
press her further she put off the discussion to another 


day, sometimes rather irritably, peevishly declaring 
that things which it had cost her years to investigate 
could not be re-told in a couple of hours, and that 
there were already too many false and superficial 
accounts of the East, for her to wish to add to their 
number by any half-comprehended utterances of her 
own. ' You might, after all,' she concluded, holding 
up her finger at me, 'do no better for me than M. 
de Lamartine. Have you read his Voyage en Orientt 
What do you think of it ? ' 

" ' I do not like to take upon myself to criticize so 
celebrated an author,' I replied ; ' but I think that 
to appreciate the descriptions of his travels one must 
one's self have been in the East.' 

" ' You may be quite right, but I can only judge of 
the article on myself, which Dr. Meryon read to me. 
Of this I can assure you, that one half is invented, 
and the other half incorrect. Some of it made me 
angry, and some of it made me laugh very heartily, 
for it showed how comically travellers interpret to 
their advantage speeches very differently intended. 
He says I was struck with the beauty of his feet, 1 
and by this, as well as from his habit of holding his 
head on one side, concluded that he was of the purest 
Arab blood, which, as he declared, a family tradition 
curiously corroborated. Now let me tell you the real 
facts of the case. Almost as soon as he came in, 
M. de Lamartine said he flattered himself that I did 
not hear his name for the first time, and asked if 
I had read his works. Truth unfortunately com- 
pelled me to say, " No, I had not " ; adding, " as I took 

1 The doctor declares that, in emulation of M. de Lamartine, all 
Lady Hester's subsequent visitors tried to attract her attention to 
their feet. "The Prince's boots were Parisian in their cut, and it 
was clear, from their excellent fit, that he felt his pretensions to a 
thoroughbred foot were now to be decided magisterially." 


little interest in European literature." He was exces- 
sively surprised ; and then informed me he was a 
poet of considerable celebrity in the world. " Well," 
said I, " I should have guessed as much at first sight, 
for I perceive in you some of the characteristics of 
poetic genius. I think you have Arab blood in your 
veins, and all Arabs are born poets." " How do you 
know that?" he asked hastily. "By your general 
appearance, and especially," I added with a smile, " by 
your finely formed foot and arched instep." I said 
this because I had observed, while he sat opposite 
to me, that he stretched out one of his feet, and 
regarded it with much complacency. " Likewise," I 
continued, " from the lustre of your eyes, and the 
shape of your eyelids, which must enable you, as 
it does many Arab tribes, to see as well with half- 
closed eyes as other people do with open ones." 
"How singular!" he cried; "how very singular all 
you tell me is, Madam ! You must know that, during 
the Crusades, one hundred and fifty Arab prisoners 
from Gaza were brought to France by their French 
captors. These settled in my native province and 
built two villages, with the castle I now inhabit. 
They still preserve a peculiar jargon, intelligible only 
to themselves, and probably a corruption of Arabic. 
Among them were several men of rank, and I have 
always understood that some of their blood was 
mingled with mine. Have you also observed that 
(as is told of Alexander) I have the natural habit 
of inclining my head towards one shoulder? Has 
this, also, an Eastern significance ? " " Oh," said I, 
"now the whole matter is clear to me. As the 
prisoners came from near Gaza I could tell you 
exactly the tribe to which they belonged, and which 
has all the characteristics you mention, especially the 


inclined neck." He seemed very much pleased, said 
he was proud to descend from such renowned war- 
riors, and begged for further particulars. These I 
took good care not to give him, for they would have 
been but little flattering to the exuberant vanity which 
was (and from his constellation unavoidably) the 
predominant feature of his character. My account 
(which was strictly accurate) related not to renowned 
warriors, but to a tribe of camel-drivers, who for 
centuries have inhabited the country round Gaza and 
Misarib, always following the same calling. From 
them M. de Lamartine may well have derived his 
peculiarities, for they have generally very good feet 
and high insteps, are greatly esteemed as minstrels 
and story-tellers, and always hold their heads on 
one side, with half-closed eyes ; a habit acquired from 
watching the heads of their camels, and which has 
now become a second nature.'" 

One can imagine Lady Hester's enjoyment of this 

" In fact, it seems to be Lady Hester's favourite idea," 
continues the Prince, " to trace back all the nations of 
Europe to an Eastern origin, which is to be recognized 
by certain signs. She is persuaded that the Scotch are 
of the tribe of Beni Karasch, whose dialect affords the 
solution of the puzzle regarding the Duke of Leinster's 
motto * (never understood till now), and gives its name 
to Lochaber. The Irish, she believes, are of Phoenician 
or Carthaginian origin. This corresponds with the 
discovery recently made by an Irishman, who thinks 
he has proved that the dialect spoken by the Cartha- 
ginian slave, Poenulus (in one of Plautus' comedies), 

1 I have always heard that Crom a boo is an old Irish war-cry. 
Why should the Geraldines be converted into Scotchmen ? 


is, in reality, the Roman pronunciation being taken 
into consideration, the old Irish tongue. 

44 On a night when the moon shone nearly as brightly 
as the sun does with us, Lady Hester conducted me 
into the sanctuary, unprofaned by vulgar eyes, of her 
private garden, the most enchanting and the most 
luxuriant, in all the lavish profusion of the South, that 
it is possible to conceive. A whole world of roses, of 
all sizes and colours and all in full bloom, shone 
resplendent in the magic illumination of the full moon ; 
and so freighted the air with their perfume, that one 
might have sunk down into the most voluptuous 
magnetic slumber. More than once, in my delight, I 
buried my face, as in a purple cushion, in these delicious 
masses of roses. Then we came to a lofty terrace set 
with flower vases, laid out along the verge of the 
rocky precipice, from whence, one's self unseen, one 
may enjoy the most beautiful view over the billowy 
mountains and wide stretch of sea beyond. The trees 
and shrubs are disposed with the true comprehension 
of pictorial effect belonging to most educated English- 
women, showing just enough, and hiding just enough 
of the view to satisfy the eye, and yet leave a wish 
for more the whole art of landscape gardening, 
as well as of coquetry. The flower vases were made 
of some excellent clay found near here, and are 
very ornamental, each on a different model, and each 
from her own design, showing considerable artistic 

" She told me on this occasion that once, when by 
the Sultan's desire she was excavating for treasure at 
Jerusalem, near Solomon's Temple, she discovered a 
very fine antique statue, in perfect preservation, which 
the Turks who were present smashed into a thousand 
pieces, in the firm belief that the gold they sought was 


concealed in this doll. What treasures may not have 
been lost in this way ! " 

This, again, is entirely incorrect. She herself ordered 
the statue to be destroyed (see p. 174). 

" She next spoke of the characteristic distinctions 
between Eastern and Western civilization : of the 
Moors in Spain ; observing, that but for Charles 
Martel, we should all now have been Mahometans (to 
which she, for one, would not object); then of the 
Caliphs of Bagdad, and the native story-tellers. 
' Come now,' she cried, inspired by the fairy-like scene 
around, ' for this once I will be your story-teller.' " 

And she launched forth at once into a very long story 
too long to quote in the style of the Arabian Nights. 
It would, however, seem that she herself became 
exhausted with these interminable vigils, during which 
the poor Prince wrote for hours to her dictation. " He 
must go to-morrow," she would say to the doctor ; " he 
kills me by these long conversations, and he is so 
tiresome, asking for this explanation and that explana- 
tion. I said to him last night, when he could not 
comprehend something, Est-ce que votre esprit est dans 
les tenebres ? " Yet he delayed his departure, putting 
off his intended visit to the Emir Beshyr three several 
times. Once, and once only, it was on the ground of 
indisposition, " little knowing," says the doctor, " the 
consequences of feeling unwell in her Ladyship's 
house." She had all her life delighted in dabbling in 
medicine, and playing the doctor. Mr. Price recounts 
how, when one 01 Lord Kensington's children, whom 
she met during her tour in Wales, inadvertently 
swallowed an earring, she was at once ready with " a 
prescription for the case, and exact verbal directions 
for the proper treatment of the patient." Now, in the 
Lebanon, she dispensed black doses with a lavish 
hand. She kept by her a whole barrel of Epsom salts, 
and woe betide any visitor who was ailing ! A black 
dose was at once administered. The Prince swallowed 
his at her bidding, though somewhat ungraciously ; 


and it is recorded to the credit of Count Tattenheim's 
great good breeding, that "he politely consented to 
take another black dose." Surely a striking proof of 
her power of will. I have often wondered whether the 
doctor himself was subjected to this merciless discipline. 
The grim irony of physicking him would have been 
very much in her line. 

At length came the hour of the Prince's departure, 
and with it a parting gift. " Dearest Lady Hester," he 
said, " Eastern custom permits the hearer to make a 
present to the story-teller, in token of his satisfaction. 
I have heard that you are in search of a young slave 
girl, and as I know my Ayesha pleases you, will you 
allow me to imitate the Persian Prince in your story, 
by offering you a black slave, whose good qualities 
render her worthy of your acceptance ? If so, I shall 
expect you to send for her to-morrow morning ; but 
take care of the doctor, in whose good graces she 
already stands very high." 

" He will only see her," rejoined Lady Hester, 
" whenever she needs his professional care. I accept 
your gift with thanks, for I confess I have liked the 
girl from the moment I saw her." 

" I, for my part, was glad to be able to leave a good 
and gentle child in the care of the Hermit-Lady of Dar 
Joon; but when I afterwards heard of her sudden 
death, and that all she left behind was either taken 
possession of by the Consular authorities or sold by 
public auction, I often speculated, with some self- 
reproach, on the uncertain fate of poor Ayesha. J 

" My hand was already on the door handle, when 
the Lady called after me, 'Don't forget the forty 
sleepers at Damascus, the tomb of Sheick Maheddin, 
and the grotto of Missisis, near Tarsus ! ' I promised, 
and with much emotion, kissed for the last time her 
withered, but still beautifully formed and aristocratic 

, P S An W T aS f n u toL 5 gmagi > house at Sa y da > to be trained by his 
wives for Lady Hester's service, 


Of these three myths, one, at least, was told with a 
distinct purpose, and is quoted by the doctor in illus- 
tration of her diplomatic methods. The first time she 
sent him to the Prince it was with the following 
message : 

" ' What I would wish you to talk to him about is 
principally the serpent's cave. You must tell him that 
at ten or twelve hours' distance from Tarsus there is a 
grotto, where once lived an enormous serpent with a 
human head, such as he may have seen in paintings, 
representing the temptation of Eve. This serpent was 
possessed of all the skill in demonology and magic 
known on earth. There was an ancient sage, who 
was desirous of acquiring this serpent's wisdom, which 
he knew could be come at by destroying the serpent : 
he therefore induced the king of the country to enter 
into his views, and, by the king's orders, the neigh- 
bouring peasantry assembled for that purpose. The 
sage, who had given instructions that, in killing the 
serpent, they were to proceed in a particular manner, 
and that the head was to be reserved for him, stationed 
himself not far off; and when the peasants went as 
asual to carry his food, intending to seize a proper 
moment for effecting his destruction, the serpent, being 
gifted with the power of speech, said, " I know what 
you are come for, you are come to take my life. I am 
aware that I am fated to die now, and shall not oppose 
it, but in killing me beware how you follow the instruc- 
tions which the wicked man who sent you gave do 
exactly the reverse." The peasants obeyed the serpent, 
and doing precisely the reverse of what the sage had 
enjoined them to do, the king too died. Since then no 
other serpent has appeared with a human head, but 
several are living in the same grotto, and they still are 
fed by the neighbouring villages, which send the food 


at stated times, and the people have opportunities of 
seeing them with their own eyes. 

" ' You must tell the Prince that this story is 
perfectly authentic, and that from the time of Sultan 
Moorad down to the present day, certain villages are 
exempted from taxes in consideration of providing 
sustenance for the serpents. As he naturally must 
wish to enquire into and see so remarkable a pheno- 
menon, you may tell him that, if he puts himself into 
a boat, he can land at Tarsus or Swadeja, and thence 
find his way a few hours' distance further, where the 
grotto is situate.' " 

The poor doctor hung his head, and demurred at 
being sent on such an errand. But she would not be 
gainsaid, and insisted. 

" ' Look here you will talk a great deal about the 
serpents, and when you can see a proper opportunity, 
and that nobody is likely to hear you, you will say to 
the Prince in a low voice, " Lady Hester recommends 
you to make some enquiries about the serpents' cave 
when you are at Beyrout ; for near to Tarsus is 
Kolook Bogaz, where Ibrahim Pacha's army is en- 
camped ; you will probably like to see it, and this 
will be a good excuse, as everybody then will fancy 
you had no political motive in going there." ' 

" The mystery was out! For two or three months, 
Lady Hester had been introducing the story of the 
human-headed serpent into her conversations : for 
two or three months, she had known of Prince 
Pilckler Muskau's coming ; for the same period I had 
entertained apprehensions that her reason was im- 
paired. M. Guys had been primed in the same way, 
and formed the same reflections, and all turned out 
to be one of those long-laid plots, for which she was 


so famous, to save the Prince from being considered 
a spy in the dangerous neighbourhood of two hostile 

The Prince had enquired of the doctor how long he 
had been resident in Syria, and how long he intended 
to remain. He replied that he hoped to go home 
that summer, as he was fairly worn out with fatigue 
and worry. " But you will not surely leave my Lady 
while she is so ill?" said the Prince. This question 
made him feel a little ashamed of himself. He saw 
what would be thought of his desertion of a sick 
woman, especially at the moment when she was 
deprived of her pension, beset with creditors, and 
that, for the first time, " his stay with her could be 
considered disinterested." He therefore put off his 
departure till she was better, and continued reading 
to her Lady Charlotte Bury's "Memoirs of a Peeress," 
and writing down her comments. She recognised all 
the characters, and had plenty of anecdotes to tell of 
them. Nothing pleased and interested her more than 
having books read out to her ; and yet one day she 
declared to him : 

" ' As for me, 1 would destroy all books in a lump. 
It was a lucky thing for mankind that the Alexan- 
drian library was destroyed ; there was good reason 
for what the Caliph did. . . . People read out of one 
book, and then out of another, thinking one day 
according to one author, and the next day quite the 
contrary ; just like teapots, drizzling out of the .spout 
what was poured in under the lid.' She told me she 
had almost quarrelled with the Prince on the subject 
of education. ' Education is all paint it does not 
alter the nature of the wood that lies under it, it only 
improves its appearance a little. Why I dislike edu- 
cation so much is, that it makes all people alike, until 
you have examined into them ; and it sometimes is so 
long before you get to see under the varnish ! ' " 


The doctor had been sent for in hot haste to the 
wife of an English merchant at Beyrout, but she had 
died before he could get there, and her husband 
now proposed to put the French doctor who had 
attended her on his trial, for unprofessional treatment, 
which he styled "assassination.' Lady Hester, though 
she had never seen him, had sent him a kind letter of 
condolence on his loss, and when she heard of the 
intended prosecution she wrote again. 

S IR> if the interest I feel in your unhappmess 
gives me any claims on your attention, you must 
allow me to make a few remarks on what I am sorry 
to hear is about to take place the bringing Monsieur 
G. to a sort of trial, respecting his unsuccessful treat- 
ment of your poor wife. I shall speak of it under two 
heads : first, that of your being wanting in humanity 
and generosity towards a young man coming into the 
world, and secondly, that of the great probability of 
your being non-suited, which will make you appear 
very ridiculous, as well as be the means of bringing 
forward many unpleasant and unusual circumstances, 
which would excessively shock the delicacy of the 

" i. In Mr. Pitt's last illness I expressed as my 
opinion, that Sir Walter Farquhar did not understand 
the nature of his complaint, and begged him to call in 
other physicians. He replied, ' Perhaps you are right, 
and such may also be my own opinion ; but if it is the 
will of God, I shall remain ; if not, I shall be sorry 
that one of the last actions of my life should be that 
of injuring the character of a man who has acted to 
the best of his knowledge, and hitherto manifested the 
greatest interest about my health on all occasions.' 
Therefore nothing could be done with him ; but 
Farquhar was himself persuaded to call in Dr. Bailey. 
Would not it be better to follow the example of that 

1838] DJOUN 391 

noble-minded man, than cast a slur upon the charac- 
ter of one who, unprepared for so difficult an 
accouchement, had neither sufficient self-confidence nor 
judgment to extricate himself in such a predicament ? 
And all this will not recall Mrs. K. again to the world. 

" 2. I enclose a paragraph from the papers last come 
to hand, 1 which, in addition to my knowledge of law, 
strengthens my opinion that you may very likely 
prove unsuccessful. You will then have to reproach 
yourself for not having acted I will not say, with 
the missionaries, with Christian charity, but with that 
feeling which ought to belong, and does belong, to 
many individuals, whatever religion they may profess. 

" Do not understand by this that I am making you 
my reproaches, for the state of irritation you are in 
proceeds from the frame of mind which this unfor- 
tunate circumstance has caused, and which it is the 
duty of all those who call themselves your friends and 
well-wishers to point out to you, that you may avoid 
future remorse when you see things more calmly." 

1 The report of a suit in one of the County Courts, in which, under 
similar circumstances, the surgeon was acquitted. 




TOWARDS the end of May, word was brought to Lady 
Hester that a party of pilgrims, who had lost two of 
their number from the plague, had been placed in 
quarantine outside the town of Sayda. They had 
asked to be taken in at the monastery of Dayr 
Mkhalla, near Djoun ; but though the monks were 
willing to receive them, the health officer refused his 
permission, and they remained in tents on the sea- 
shore, guarded by a cordon of soldiers. They were 
said to be poor Germans ; and Lady Hester, thinking 
they might be in want of comforts, packed a couple of 
baskets with a supply of rose and violet syrup, 
capillaire, lemons, &c., and sent them as " The humble 
offering of Lady Hester Stanhope to the sick Germans, 
with her request that they will make known their 
wants to her, whether for medicines or for whatever 
they may need." 

But her messenger had scarcely left the house when 
a letter arrived from one of the strangers, signed Baron 
de Buseck, requesting her to be kind enough to send 
her doctor, as a member of the party was ill. Lady 
Hester was eager to comply, but the doctor refused 
to go. He said he was afraid of the plague, and 
thought, as the Germans appeared to be men of rank, 
they could easily procure medical attendance from 
Sayda. Nothing she could urge was of any avail, and 
she had to write a refusal. 

11 Although I myself have no fear of the plague, or 
of persons infected with it, almost all the Franks have. 


1838-1839] DJOUN 393 

The physician who is with me happens to be one of 
the number, therefore it does not depend on me to 
cure people of what I consider prejudices. Our days 
are numbered, and everything is in the hands of God. 
"Your letter is without a date, and comes from I 
know not where. At the moment that I received it, I 
had sent a servant with a few cooling syrups to some 
sick Germans, guarded by a ring of soldiers outside 
the town of whose name and class of life I am 
ignorant, although the peasants give out that there are 
some of very high quality among them for I feared 
that, in a strange country, and thus surrounded by 
fever, and perhaps plague, they would not be able to 
procure the drinks necessary in such maladies. I hope 
not to have offended anyone, although I have made a 
blundering business, not knowing who I addressed 
myself to. But having understood that they had 
yesterday demanded an asylum in Dayr Mkhalla, which 
had been refused them, I was uneasy on their account. 
" I have ordered my purveyor at Sayda, Captain 
Hassan Logmagi, to come up to-morrow, that I may 
get a right understanding of this confused affair, and 
may see if it is in my power, by any trifling service, to 
be of use to them. Allow me to remark, that if in any 
case symptoms of plague, or even of the ardent fevers 
of the country, manifest themselves, the Frank doctors 
understand but little about it The barbers of the 
country are those who have the most knowledge on 
the subject. 

" This letter goes by the servant who has in charge 
the basket of syrups, and whom I had called back 
when about ten minutes on his road." 

Lady Hester lectured the doctor very severely on 
his refusal to attend the poor Baron. But he, well 
inured to scoldings, remained unmoved, till a second 


letter, in another hand, arrived from the German camp. 
It was very courteous, thanked Lady Hester for her kind 
attention, repeated the request that the doctor might 
be sent, and was signed Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria. 
This 'name acted like a charm, dispelling all the 
doctor's fear of the plague ; he was now ready and 
anxious to obey the summons, and pay his respects to 
"a prince of the blood-royal, the brother-in-law of the 
King of Bavaria." Lady Hester's first care was to 
have some loaves baked for the Duke, as the bread 
made at Sayda was not good. She also sent tea, a 
teapot, rum, brandy, and some other things that could 
not be got in the town, with this letter : 

Lady Hester to Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria 

" DjOUN, 

"^<zj/27//&, 1838. 

" I have been but too much flattered by the good- 
ness with which your Royal Highness was pleased to 
look on the liberty I have already taken ; it is a proof 
of your greatness as well as of your condescension. 
Dr. Meryon has made up his mind to present himself 
to your Royal Highness, but perhaps on a first visit 
he will not say what I presume to do. 

" In the first place, the air of the spot where chance 
has put you is bad. There is danger of getting a 
fever, unless you wrap yourself up well as the evening 
closes in, and take, in going to bed, a little brandy and 
water, with sugar in it, instead of cooling things : but 
what is best of all is a little rum, to prevent the 
circulation from becoming languid with the damp, and 
to keep up perspiration. Medical books say nothing 
of this, nor, generally speaking, have doctors much 
knowledge of it : but I have acquired my information 
from people who have never been attacked by fever, 
although often exposed, from their occupations, to sun 
and fatigue. The Germans (who, according to the 
traditions of the ancient Arabians, are of exceeding 

1838-1839] DJOUN 395 

high race) like the kings, their ancestors, are not 
brought up idlers : therefore, it seems much more 
reasonable to infer that, if they follow the practice of 
the laborious, it will suit them better than the system 
pursued by indolent beings, who lead a kind of false 
existence, and whose complaints are often imaginary, 
or the consequences of their own prejudices. In 
fevers of the country one cannot drink too much of 
cooling things, or of cold water, for if, during one or 
two days previous to trying any remedies intended to 
excite the circulation, refreshing beverages are not 
taken, internal inflammation comes on, which carries 
off a man in a few hours. Bleeding is almost never to 
be feared in this country. 

" Pardon me for thus having made myself a doctor : 
but it is necessary that your Royal Highness should 
have some insight into what is most necessary to 
observe in a climate which is a very wholesome one, if 
a person knows how to accustom himself to it." 

The doctor paid his professional visit to the Baron, 
and had an interview with Duke Maximilian, who was 
" most condescending," and asked him to examine his 
black Mameluke, then desperately ill. His own 
physician had died of the plague at Nazareth, and it 
was feared this poor negro had caught the infection. 
The doctor examined him at a safe distance (he went 
no nearer than 5 ft.), but could not decide whether the 
case was plague or typhus. Subsequently, however, 
another doctor who was called in pronounced it to be 
typhus, and thus freed the party from quarantine. On 
June 7th, when Dr. Meryon, by Lady Hester's desire, 
came to watch the effects of seventeen black doses that 
she had forwarded to them the night before, he found 
the camp broken up, and the released prisoners 
jubilant. (Had they profited by her liberality as 
regarded the seventeen black doses? I hope and 
believe they had not.) The Duke announced that " his 
first duty was to wait upon Lady Hester, and to thank 
her, and desired the doctor to let him know when she 


would permit him to pay his respects." Lady Hester 
wrote accordingly : 

Lady Hester to Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria 

" I cannot sufficiently appreciate the honour you 
intend me in wishing to visit my hermitage : but 
permit me to impose these conditions upon you that 
you say not a word more, neither you nor the noble- 
men in your suite, of those trifling services which you 
have so graciously and benevolently accepted. Allow 
me also to acquaint your Royal Highness, that, 
although I was in my time a woman of the world, for 
these last twenty years I have been nothing but a 
philosopher, who turns out of her road for nobody. 
When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes, he 
neither changed his dress nor moved his tub for him : 
pardon me, Prince, if I imitate his example. 

" There was a time when my house was passable : 
but now there are many rooms in ruins for want of 
repairs, especially a large pavilion in the garden, 
tumbling down from an earthquake : so that I could 
not lodge more than three or four persons at a time. 
What lodging I have for you is, first of all, a little 
garden on the east side of my residence, with a small 
saloon, and outside of the door two mustabys " (raised 
stone benches) "where two persons might sleep. 
Adjoining the saloon is a bedroom ; and at the back of 
it a sleeping room for two valets, with mattresses on 
the floor, according to the custom of the country. The 
saloon has a trellis in front. Just out of the garden 
gate is a little place to make coffee, or boil water for 
shaving; and opposite to it is another room for 
ordinary strangers, where two persons can sleep, and 
where Count Tattenbach was lodged. For the other 
servants there is room in one of the courtyards. As 

1838-1839] DJOUN 397 

for my own divan, it has been in a ruinous state for 
some years, and I inhabit at present a badly furnished 
little room. 

" I beg your Royal Highness will consider the little 
garden, and the pavilion in it, which I have just men- 
tioned, as your own, until the ship which you expect 
arrives. You can make your excursions in the Moun- 
tain when you like. With you, you can bring two or 
three of the gentlemen of your suite, and these can 
make room for others in their turn. Only, I hope that 
the Baron and Count Gaiety, as I call him (for, 
according to what the doctor tells me, during all your 
misfortunes he has always preserved his cheerfulness), 
will not come both together, because I have got a 
great deal to say to each. Thus, then, I shall expect 
your Royal Highness on Saturday evening." 

Everything that it was possible to do was done to 
prepare for the Duke's reception : and on the Saturday 
morning all was ready, and the servants, dressed in 
their best clothes, awaited his coming. But it found 
poor Lady Hester in a high fever, with a torturing 
pain in her side : she told the doctor she had passed a 
sleepless night, and that he must go and inform the 
Duke how ill she was, and that it was quite impossible 
for her to receive him. The Duke had already 
reached the monastery at Djoun when the doctor met 
him. He expressed the greatest concern at hearing of 
Lady Hester's illness, and at once turned back to 
Sayda, where, by good fortune, he found the steamer 
he expected just arrived, and embarked for Europe. 
Before he left, he asked the doctor whether Lady 
Hester would be displeased if he sent her his portrait. 
" She could not but be pleased," the doctor opined. 
But he was quite wrong. When he told her of it, she 
said : " No ; I must write to him and prevent his 
sending it " ; and she did. 

Her fever abated after she had been bled, and during 
the next few weeks she was able to receive three 
visitors, none of whom were introduced to the doctor. 


The first was the great Oriental scholar, Dr. Laove ; 
the second she discovered to be a Russian soy, from 
the Embassy at Constantinople : " and the Russians 
employ such clever men, doctor, that I thought it best 
you should not see him ; for he would have pumped 
you without your suspecting his design"; and the 
third was an English country squire, of whom she 
gave a comical account : 

11 He asked me if I knew the Emir Beshyr, and when 
I was giving him some information about him, all of a 
sudden he asked me if I liked dancing when I lived in 
England. He goes from one thing to another, like a 
dog in a fair, just like a dog that goes from one booth 
to another, sniffing here and there, and stealing ginger- 
bread nuts. When he sat with me in the evening, he 
was constantly turning his head to the window, which 
was open, as if he thought somebody was coming in 
that way." 

Travelling was rapidly becoming dangerous, if not 
impracticable ; for a formidable Druse insurrection 
had broken out in the Lebanon, and the country 
swarmed with marauders and deserters. The in- 
surgents were now within a day's march of Djoun ; 
cattle had been carried off in the neighbourhood ; the 
monks had packed up their valuables, and sent them 
down to Sayda ; and the terrified villagers were pre- 
paring to desert their homesteads. Lady Hester sent 
them word they were to remain where they were, and 
nothing should happen to them. " I foretold all this," 
she said to the doctor, " in a short time you will not be 
able to ride from here to Sayda : the country will be 
over-run with armed men, but I shall be as cool, from 
first to last, as at a fete. All the cowards may go : I 
want those who can send a ball where I direct them. 
Why do I keep such men as Seyd Ahmed and some 
others? You wanted me to get rid of them, and 
blamed me because I kept such fellows about me. I 
knew the time would come when they would be 
useful, as you will see." He spoke of precautions that 
ought to be taken. " Oh ! " she said, " I don't fear ; I 

1838-1839] AN OFFICIAL DESPATCH 399 

would throw all my doors open, if the Druses were on 
the outside, and should not be afraid that any one 
would touch me." The old defiant spirit had not died 
out in her. She was as ready as ever for the fray : as 
prompt to act, as daring and resolute, as she had 
always been. Changed in all else, she was unchanged 
in this ; broken down in health and fortune, she was 
still the same dauntless woman who had challenged 
her enemies to do their worst, with the threatening 
message : " If they want a devil, let them try me ! " 

But, courageous as she was, her home troubles and 
anxieties told grievously upon her, for the wound 
inflicted by Col. Campbell's letter had struck very 
deep. She was excessively anxious that her corre- 
spondence on the subject should be published, and 
worried by its non-appearance in the papers. " Who 
knows?" she cried. " rerhaps Prince Piickler Muskau, 
after all his pretended interest in my affairs, has never 
sent the correspondence to Europe * : he told you in 
three months we should see the letters in the papers, 
and yet the papers neither come, nor do we hear from 
him. Do you think, after this, one can have any 
confidence in anybody ? " Meanwhile, Lord Palmer- 
stpn's answer to her letter had come, and is here given, 
with her rejoinder. 

Lord Palmerston to Lady Hester 


April *yh, 1838. 

" MADAM, I am commanded by the Queen to ac- 
quaint you that I have laid before Her Majesty your 
letter of the i2th February of this year. 

" It has been my duty to explain to Her Majesty the 
circumstances which may be supposed to have led to 
your writing that letter, and I have now to state to 
your Ladyship that any communications which have 
been made to you on the matters to which your letter 
refers, either through the friends of your family or 
through Her Majesty's Agent and Consul-General at 

1 He tells us in his diary that he considered the letters too dis- 
respectful in their tone for publication. 


Alexandria, have been suggested by nothing but a 
desire to save your Ladyship from the embarrassments 
which might arise, if the parties who have claims 
upon you were to call upon the Consul-General to act 
according to the strict line of his duty, under the 
capitulations between Great Britain and the Porte. 
" I have the honour to be, Madam, 

" Your Ladyship's most obedient, 
" Humble Servant, 


Lady Hester to Lord Palmerston 


"July ist, 1838. 

"Mv LORD, If your diplomatic despatches are as 
obscure as the one which now lies before me, it is no 
wonder that England should cease to have that proud 
preponderance in her foreign relations, which she once 
could boast of. 

" Your Lordship tells me that you have thought it 
your duty to explain to the Queen the subject which 
caused me to address Her Majesty. I should have 
thought, my Lord, that it would have been your duty 
to have made those explanations prior to having taken 
the liberty of using Her Majesty's name, and alienating 
from her and her country a subject who, the great and 
small must acknowledge (however painful it may be to 
some), has raised the English name in the East higher 
than anyone has yet done, and this without having 
spent one farthing of public money. Whatever may 
be the surprise created in the minds of statesmen of 
the old school respecting the conduct of Government 
towards me, I am not myself the least astonished, for 
when the son of a king, with a view of enlightening 
his own mind and that of the world in general, had 

1838-1839] A SPIRITED REJOINDER 401 

devoted part of his private fortune to the purchase of 
a most invaluable library at Hamburg, he was flatly 
refused an exemption from the Custom-house duties ; 
but (if report speaks true), had an application been 
made to pass band-boxes, millinery, inimitable wigs, 
and invaluable rouge, it would have been instantly 
granted by Her Majesty's Ministers, if we may judge 
by precedents. Therefore, my Lord, I have nothing 
to complain of. Yet I shall go on fighting my battles, 
campaign after campaign. 

" Your Lordship gives me to understand that the 
insult which I have received was considerately 
bestowed upon me, to avoid some dreadful unname- 
able misfortune which was pending over my head. I 
am ready to meet with courage and resignation every 
misfortune it may please God to visit me with, but 
certainly not insult from man. If I can be accused of 
high crimes and misdemeanours, and that I am to stand 
in dread of the punishment thereof, let me be tried, as 
I believe I have a right to be, by my peers ; if not, then 
by the voice of the people. Disliking the English 
because they are no longer English no longer that 
hardy, honest, bold people that they were in former 
times yet, as some few of this race must remain, I 
should rely with confidence on their integrity and 
justice, when my case had been fully examined. 

" It is but fair to make your Lordship aware that, if 
by the next packet there is nothing definitely settled 
respecting my affairs, and that I am not cleared in the 
eyes of the world of aspersions, intentionally or 
unintentionally cast upon me, I shall break up my 
household, and build up the entrance gate to my 
premises, there remaining, as if I were in a tomb, till 
my character has been done justice to, and a public 
acknowledgment put in the papers, signed and sealed 

4t)2 PITT BLOOD [CH. ix 

by those who have aspersed me. There is no trifling 
with those who have Pitt blood in their veins upon the 
subject of integrity, nor expecting that their spirit 
would ever yield to the impertinent interference of 
Consular authority. 

"Meanly endeavouring (as Colonel Campbell has 
attempted to do) to make the origin of this business 
an application of the Viceroy of Egypt to the English 
Government, I must, without having made any 
enquiries upon this subject, exculpate his Highness 
from so low a proceeding. His known liberality in all 
such cases, from the highest to the lowest class of 
persons, is such as to make one the more regret his 
extraordinary and reprehensible conduct towards his 
great Master, and that such a man should become 
totally blinded by vanity and ambition, which must in 
the end prove his own perdition, an opinion I have 
loudly given from the beginning. 

" Your Lordship talks to me of the capitulations 
with the Sublime Porte. What has that to do with a 
private individual having exceeded his finances, in 
trying to do good ? If there is any punishment for 
that, you had better begin with your ambassadors, 
who have often indebted themselves at the different 
Courts of Europe, as well as at Constantinople. I 
myself am so attached to the Sultan that, were the 
reward of such conduct that of losing my head, I 
should kiss the sabre wielded by so mighty a hand, 
yet, at the same time, treat with the most ineffable 
contempt your trumpery agents, as I should never 
admit of their having the smallest power over me ; if I 
did, I should belie my origin. 


The servant who carried this letter to Sayda was 
instructed to wait till the English steamer came in, in 

1838-! 839] DJOUN 403 

case it should bring something for Lady Hester. It 
brought Sir Francis Burdett's long-hoped-for answer. 
But she no longer looked forward to it as she once 
had done. She had waited for it so long and so vainly, 
that her persistent hopefulness as to its contents had 
given way. Good news should surely not have been 
so long on the road. She had expected it when she 
was lying ill of her fever in June ; tnen, as usual, she 
had been disappointed, and, weak and prostrate as she 
then was, the disappointment seemed worse to bear 
than it had ever been. She turned impatiently in her 
bed, crying, " Oh, Lord ! the die is cast. Doctor, the 
sooner you take yourself off the better. I have no 
money. You can be of no use to me. I shall write no 
more letters shall break up my establishment, wall 
up my gate, and, with a girl and boy to wait upon me, 
resign myself to my fate." Her fits of despondency, 
however, never lasted long ; a reaction generally set 
in on the following day, and the doctor always thought 
it best to leave her to herself. He could neither cheer 
nor comfort her; it was her own sanguine tempera- 
ment, her own buoyant spirits, that came to the 
rescue, and coloured and brightened the gloomiest of 
prospects. She had full faith in the star that guided 
her destiny, and was to lead her, through many 
vicissitudes, to the triumph and success that had been 
so long foretold. 

" I am," she said, " like the man in the Eastern 
story, who, imprisoned in a dungeon, and nearly 
starved to death, found in a poor sailor an old 
acquaintance, who conveyed to him secretly a basin of 
warm soup, but just as he was putting it to his mouth, 
a rat fell from the ceiling, and knocked it out of his 
hand. Reduced thus to the lowest pitch of wretched- 
ness, and seeing nothing left for him but to die, at the 
critical moment came a firman from Constantinople to 
cut off the head of the pasha who had thrown him into 
prison, and he was saved. So it is with me. I cannot 
be worse off than I am ; I shall, therefore, when the 
next steamboat comes, see what it brings, and, if I hear 

4 o 4 BAD NEWS [CH. ix 

no news about the property that was left me, I shall 
get rid of you and everybody, and of all the women, 
and, with one black slave and Logmagi, I shall order 
the gateway to be walled up, leaving only room 
enough for my cows to go in and out to pasture, and I 
shall have no communication with any human being. 
1 shall write to Lord Palmerston before you go, and tell 
him that, as he has thrown an aspersion on my name, I 
shall remain walled in until he publicly removes it. 
And if he, or anybody, writes to me, there will be no 
answer, for when you are gone, I shall have nobody to 
write for me. This sort of life, perhaps, will suit me 
best, after all. I have often wished that I could have 
a room in my garden, and, lying there with only some 
necessary covering, slip from my bed as I was into the 
garden, and after a turn or two, slip back again. I do 
assure you I should be neither low-spirited nor dull." 

When Sir Francis Burdett's long-delayed answer at 
last came, it found her, in a great measure, prepared 
for bad news, and it brought her the very worst. All 
her hopes of the Irish estate, on which she had 
founded so many projects and expectations, were 
relentlessly dashed to the ground. Yet the doctor 
found her calm and composed, unshaken in her belief 
regarding her inheritance, and only occupied in 
finding excuses for her old friend. " It is evident, 
doctor," said she, " that he could not write what he 
wanted to write. He wishes me all the happiness 
that a mortal can share, but says not a word that I did 
not know before." Here is her reply : 

Lady Hester to Sir Francis Burdett 


"July 2oM, 1838. 

" MY DEAR BURDETT, I am no fool, neither are you, 
but you might pass for one, if in good earnest you did 
not understand my letter. You tell me what is self- 
evident that I have no right to inherit Colonel 

1838-1839] LADY HESTER'S RESOLVE 405 

Needham's property, etc. ; neither has your daughter any 
right to inherit Mr. Coutts' property ; but, in all proba- 
bility, his wife, being aware that you and your family 
stood high in his estimation, paid that compliment to his 
memory. Lord Kilmorey, who had no children, being 
aware of Colonel Needham's partiality towards Mr. 
Pitt, might, by his will, have allowed the property to 
return to the remaining branch of the Pitt family. Do 
not be afraid that I am going to give you any fresh 
trouble about this affair, notwithstanding I believe 
you were some time hatching this stupid answer, but 
I do not owe you any grudge, as I know it does not 
come from you ; I know where it comes from. 

"A lion of the desert, being caught in the hunts- 
man's net, called in vain to the beasts in the field to 
assist him, and received from them about as shuffling 
an answer as I have received from you, and previously 
from Lord Hardwicke. A little field-mouse gnawed 
the master-knot, and called to the lion to make a great 
effort, which burst the noose, and out came the lion 
stronger than eVer. 

" I am now about building up every avenue to my 
premises, and there shall wait with patience, immured 
within the walls, till it please God to send me a little 
mouse, and whoever presumes to force my retirement, 
by scaling my walls or anything of the like, will be 
received by me as Lord Camelford would have 
received them." 

She had quite determined to part with the doctor, 
and most, if not all, of her servants, now that the 
funds to maintain her establishment were no longer 
forthcoming. The doctor had already made up his 
mind to go as soon as she was a little better, but yet 
he admits that he felt great reluctance in leaving her 
" without a single European near her, or a single 
servant on whom she could depend," and he must 


have known how severely his conduct would be 
judged. She herself was generously anxious to 
screen him from blame, and told him he had better 
write to Baron de Buseck or Count Wilsenheim, 
" that they may not think you left me unprotected, 
for you know how apt people are to put a bad con- 
struction on everything." It is certain that she 
insisted on his departure, and that it was hard to 
oppose her will, but how he could find it in his heart 
to go, and leave her in such an evil plight, is more 
than I can understand. She had now to face the 
world alone, and without a single friend. She had no 
money. The war between the Druses and the Pasha 
was raging more fiercely than ever ; all the country 
round was in a disturbed and dangerous state, and 
there was no one to stand by her no human being 
for her to depend upon except herself. Her health 
had, indeed, improved ; the fever had left her, and her 
cough was easier, as it always was during the summer 
months, but the doctor knew well enough what lay 
before her in the coming winter. He had written 
only a month or two before, " She is saved for this 

*ar; what another might do is in the hands of God." 
he last winter had been terrible, and this one was to 
find her without medical attendance or comforts, with 
no one to nurse and wait upon her but idle and unwill- 
ing slave girls, who fled from the sound of her bell. 
Unable to use her own weak eyes without great 
suffering, she was to be left with no one to read to her 
or write for her ; no one to save her trouble, or help 
her in difficulty ; no one to come and sit with her 
during her long nightly vigils ; no one to whom she 
could speak in her mother tongue. She was to be 
virtually a prisoner shut out from all communication 
with the outer world. What worse fate could her 
bitterest enemy have imagined for her ? Yet the man 
who doomed her to it was a friend of twenty-eight 
years' standing, who invariably professed the greatest 
possible gratitude and devotion. Here are some of the 
effusions he sent her after his departure : 

Dr. Meryon to Lady Hester 

" I am grown old. I never had but one kind and 
sure friend in the world, and were one of your cats 

1838-1839] LUCUBRATIONS 407 

(much as I hate cats) to fall into my hands, and 
wanted a house over its head, I would fold it to my 
bosom because it had been yours. 'Tis at a distance, 
when all the scoldings are forgotten, or only 
recollected to feel how just they were, that I think 
of your noble mind, your disinterested integrity, your 
undaunted spirit, and your pious resignation to the 
will of God and then I sink into my own nothing- 
ness. My heart is full of your Ladyship's goodness, and 
I still hope I am worthy to be your devoted servant. 
. . . Do not imagine for a moment that I ever expected 
any civil remarks in return for what I say. I am like 
a poor man who, when burthened with a heavy load, 
feels happy to relieve himself of the weight of it by 
unloading it at its destination, but, in so doing, he 
merits no thanks he has only done his duty. Any 
attempt of mine to make fine speeches to a refined 
understanding like yours would be like a street 
fiddler's trying to amuse Mozart. I am all humility 
now, and feel myself almost unworthy to pray for so 
exalted a being as yourself, much more to identify 
myself with your sufferings in health, by any sorrow 
I can feel. My regrets deserve no acknowledgment 
only let me now and then pour them out upon 

These lucubrations, as a context to his conduct, must 
have considerably amused "the exalted being" to whom 
they were addressed. 

No time was lost in preparing for the doctor's 
departure ; yet a month elapsed before he was ready 
to go. Lady Hester utilized the interval for her 
correspondence, as it was the last opportunity she 
would ever have of dictating letters, and it was both 
painful and difficult for her to write herself. She had 
recently received, after the lapse of many years, a com- 
munication from one of her family. Colonel Hazeta, 
returning home on leave, had brought her a letter from 


a son of Lady Lucy's, 1 then serving in India ; but 
I fear she left it unnoticed. The following descriptions 
of the Druse insurrection were addressed to " Count 
Gaiety" (as she called him) and Baron de Buseck. 

Lady Hester to Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria 
41 1 am happy that H.R.H. quitted this country when 
he did, not because of the plague the season was 
gone by this year for that but because of the aspect 
of affairs, and of the Druse insurrection, which has 
grown considerably hotter, and which would have 
made it impossible to travel with any comfort. 

" Ibrahim Pacha began the war in the Horan with 
forty-five thousand men ; the Druses had but seven 
thousand, assisted by some tribes of the Arabs of the 
desert. Ibrahim Pacha has lost thirty thousand, be- 
tween Nizam troops (as they are called), Sugmans. 
and Albanians, without reckoning the wounded. The 
Druses' army, I believe, does not at present exceed 
two thousand five hundred men ; but each man of that 
two thousand five hundred is singly worth twenty. 
The last seat of the war was about fourteen leagues 
distant in a straight line from my residence. The 
Druses, after having well beaten Ibrahim Pacha, and 
killed some of his officers, retreated to the Horan, 
pursued by the Pacha. 

"You no doubt are aware that H.H. the Pacha, in 
concert with the Emir Beshyr, disarmed the Druses 
some time ago by a stratagem, which gave the 
Government means to take their sons for conscripts for 
the Nizam. After that, they in like manner disarmed 

1 There is a story told of the eldest of these nephews, which is 
curiously characteristic of Lady Hester's methods. As a little child 
he was fractious and troublesome : but invariably on his best behaviour 
when she was in the room. Someone noticed this, and asked her to 
explain it. " Oh !" she cried, " that is very simple. One day that he 
misbehaved himself with me, I opened the window, lifted him up, and 
held him out at arm's length, saying, ' Now, remember, if ever you do 
that again, next time I shall let you drop.' " 

1838-1839] M - GUYS 409 

the Christians ; but necessity has compelled the Pacha 
lately to give them their arms again, in order to enable 
the son of the Emir Beshyr to join the Pacha's forces 
with a reinforcement of Christians, which he stood in 
need of, to garrison the skirts of the mountain on the 
side of the Bkaa. The Druses killed a great many of 
these Christians, and they could have annihilated 
them, but they said to them : ' You are not to blame ; 
it goes against us to exterminate you, for we have 
always lived with you on friendly terms, but we will 
slay without pity every Christian we find in arms, 
excepting those of the Mountain.' 

" The French Government has done an imprudent 
thing in removing Mr. Consul Guys from his post at 
Beyrout, because that gentleman had very extensive 
connections among the bishops and priests, and all 
the numerous sects of Christians found on Mount 
Lebanon, and by his information and experience, had 
means of giving them good advice. For if, by chance, 
those Christians gave heed to bad counsel, it might 
not be impossible that half the Franks who inhabit 
this country would be massacred. ... I have a great 
esteem for M. Guys, but I see him so seldom, that 
whether he is far or near, it is pretty much the same 
to me. As for the Christians here, I do not interest 
myself more about them than about other men per- 
haps less, not on account of their religion, but of their 
qualities, of which egotism and perfidy are marked 
characteristics in most of them. As a religion is with 
me neither more nor less than a costume of adoration, 
it is all one whether it is green, white, blue, or black. 
To me, it is all the same whether a man prostrates 
himself before a piece of wood, or a cockle-shell, as 
the Metonalis do, provided his heart addresses itself 
to the Almighty. 

4 io CIVIL WAR [CH. ix 

" Perhaps for saying this, you will have me crucified 
by the Pope. Never mind, if it is my lot I shall not 
repine, since whatever is decreed must necessarily 
happen ; but it is not necessary, for all that, by a want 
of policy, to make civil wars break out, which would 
do no good to anybody, and which would not turn to 
any account even for those who stirred them up. . . . 

" When the Druses found out that the Pacha's 
artillery in the valleys cut them up dreadfully, and that 
personal courage was of no value, they retreated to the 
Horan, where the inequality of the ground was more 
favourable to them. At this moment, Ibrahim Pacha 
is in pursuit of them, and has given orders to his 
Bedouin robbers, whom he brought from Egypt (a 
tribe that is called the Hanaady), to run down the 
greatest hero the Druses have got, and to bring him 
alive; being so struck with the courage of the man, 
that he would willingly employ him in his own service. 
Poor Pacha ! I fancy he has made a bad calculation 
in thinking that one of the family of Arrian, men 
accustomed, like their ancestors, to rule with sovereign 
authority in their castle at Gendal, would ever become 
a vile slave to save his life. Shibly el Arrian is not 
only a hero in battle, but a Demosthenes in council ; 
he makes even the great tremble by the language he 

"An order has just been issued by the Emir Beshyr, 
to search the dwellings of the Druses for concealed 
arms, and to take from them their horses ; this is, at 
best, a great piece of imprudence, because, seeing that 
many of the cavaliers would sooner fly than give up 
their horses, he will thus increase the number of 
insurgents in the Horan. Ibrahim Pacha, with the 
wreck of his army, of which he has lost full 30,000, 
without counting the wounded, ca.rj.npt, if he does not 

1838-1839] DR. MERYON'S LEAVE-TAKING 411 

soon make peace and come to some composition, do 
much more with the Druses. 

" This is the state of affairs at the present moment ; 
but it is difficult to get at the truth. Even your friend 
L., if he knows anything, dares not avow it ; but what 
such sort of people know is so little their information 
is so confined, they are all so ignorant of the true 
character, the projects, and of the resources of the 
different races that inhabit Syria that the reasonings 
they make are about as false as a fairy-tale." 

This was the last letter the doctor ever wrote for 
her. As the day of his departure drew nearer, poor 
Lady Hester's heart misgave her, and she was very 
loth to let him go. The appalling solitude that awaited 
her rose up like a spectre before her, and she could 
not forbear to wish it delayed. She often spoke of 
her approaching end. " I shall not die in my bed," 
she would say, " and I had rather not ; my brothers 
did not, and I have always had a feeling that my end 
would be in blood that does not frighten me in the 
least." The prospect she quailed from was the life 
that lay before her. 

The doctor put off going for three days longer ; then, 
on August 6th, he " took an affectionate leave of her, 
and never saw her more." The two Eugenias, mother 
and daughter, who had never once seen her during 
their fifteen months' stay, were dissolved in tears on 
leaving, as they had been on arriving. Half way to 
Sayda they were overtaken by a messenger bringing 
a small Turkey carpet that Lady Hester, ever mindful 
of their comfort, had sent for them to spread on the 
floor of their cabin. 

Before they left, she had carried out her intention 
of walling up her gate, leaving only an opening large 
enough to admit a cow or a beast of burden, as her 
water supply had to be brought in from without. 
Here she remained immured till her death, a self- 
constituted prisoner. 

Henceforward all we know of her dreary hermit-life 
is through her letters, and she wrote very few. Once 
a month, she generally sent one to the doctor, giving 


him commissions and instructions, but not telling him 
much about herself. She writes in October : 

Lady Hester to Dr. Meryon 

" Everybody is laid up here ; Logmagi with a bad 
fever, as also Mustafa and the cow-boy; Mohammed 
with a fit of the gout, unable to walk or stir ; Fato6m, 
half with whims, always under the coverlet ; Zezef6on 
ill, but keeping to her work. The early rain has 
caused illness everywhere. . . . The Mountain is in a 
very disturbed'state ; but my habitation is well walled 
in, and the weight of all on poor me, as Logmagi is 
at Sayda. 

" So far till to-day ; afterwards I shall not be able to 
give you any account of myself, as I suffer so by 
writing. The spectacles always cause me such vast 
pain, that I cannot stand it ; and besides, it lasts all 
day, or next day. . . . Mr. M., whom you did not see 
at Cyprus, has offered to serve me as secretary, and to 
arrange my servants, he living at his own expense at 
Djoun, or some other village ; but, as he refused all 
salary, I could not do otherwise than refuse his offer." 

Lady Hester to Lord Hardwicke 


" October 2lst, 1838. 

" DEAR LORD HARDWICKE, The most infernal cold- 
hearted quiz might have written your first letter; 
a Yorke only the last. If you wish to serve me (which 
I believe you do), sell my pension to Government, 
to an individual, or by auction ; also the annuity my 
brother left me, for the interest has brought up my 
debts to a very large sum. You will say What are 
you to do ? Never enquire that ; the Divine Being 
who inspired me to act as I have done, who has 
supported me through all my dreadful trials, will not 

1838-1839] DJOUN 413 

forsake me. Let me hear by the return of the vapour 
if you will kindly undertake this business, or not. If 
not, I have this resource, which I shall make use of 
most speedily to put all my affairs into the hands 
of a stranger, and let him do his best ; if he only sells 
for half its value, it is all, and the creditors must take 
so much in the pound. You will say, vast expense ; 
recollect that millions have gone for the same purpose, 
but to no avail. You may treat me as an imposture ; 
think and say as you like of me, but guide me none 
shall, therefore all reasoning is in vain when I have 
made up my mind. I know I have property in Ire- 
land, with all the stupid shuffles made about it, and 
on that subject I shall say no more. As to the 
Government, Lord P. has acted like a blackguard to 
allow of a dirty agent to threaten me ; but I have not 
done with him, and he will hereafter see, those who 
have Pitt blood in their veins are no swindlers, nor 
are they cowards, or will they bear a threat even 
from a crowned head. You know I am no longer an 
English subject ; I would rather live under a Hottentot 
king, than be subjected to the caprice of a childish queen, 
governed by such ministers. They may some day 
expect Fox's ghost to give them a good box in the 
ear, for it is certain he would be quite shocked and 
ashamed at any of his party having acted as they 
have done. I have no fear of all those horrors which 
you have painted in such gloomy colours ; I have seen 
worse than all that. I have requested a medical man, 
Dr. Meryon, to send you a sort of certificate about 
my health ; all nonsense, for no one understands my 
health more than they do my character; but as a 
form the paper may be useful. Should you see the 
Doctor in England, recollect that his only good quality 
in my sight is, I believe, being very honest in money 


matters ; no other do I grant him ; without judgment, 
without heart, he goes through the world, like many 
others, blundering his way ; and often, from his want 
of accuracy, doing mischief every time he opens his 
mouth. I must now tell you, that a Turk who held 
a bond of mine, expressed among his friends some 
fears about the payment, when he heard my pension 
was to be stopped, etc., etc. One of the party flew 
into a passion, and said, ' If you fear, take the money 
from me.' He said, ' Very well.' It was fetched im- 
mediately, and the bond sent to me. This sum was 
all the ready money the man could command, but he 
offered instantly to sell land worth about 1000, if 
I was short of money, adding, ' I am only doing my 
duty ; she has ever served us when in distress ; she 
is a universal blessing, which we must preserve for 
our own sakes.' If I do not repay this man the 
beginning of February, I shall ruin his affairs greatly. 
There is likewise another I must pay at that time ; 
as for the old standing usurers, let them wait. I 
must have credit for 3000 in February. There is 
900 of my (pension) I have given as yet no certifi- 
cate for, and is undrawn ; that, insure my life with 
for ten years, and quickly sell the pension. I suffer 
greatly when I write, therefore do not expect re- 
peated letters, for I cannot stand it ; only do not fail 
to let me know my fate ; to sell one farthing, or pay 
one penny in any other way but the one I have here 
named I will not put my hand to. All reasoning, 
etc., will be in vain ; and I should wish to know by 
what law I am to be proved not at liberty to do with 
that which belongs to me as 1 think proper because, 
perhaps, Mr. Pitt thought me a fool, and unable either 
to judge or to act for myself. Shame upon you all ! 
had you been gentlemen, you would have sent me a 

1838-1839] "MEN ARE BEASTS" 4*5 

man like Mr. Dundas, the judge in India ; Capt. 
Swinburne, formerly of the Rapid ; or Capt. Brown, 
aide-de-camp to Lord Nugent all admirable men. 
Had you put a dozen padlocks on their tongues, it 
was all one to me ; I wanted their ears only. Will 
you tell the Duke of Sussex that I strongly recommend 
to him Dr. Mills, lately come from India, as one of the 
most sound-headed, learned men I have met with. 
I wished to have much conversation with him, but 
there was no time ; yet I saw enough to judge of what 
he knew, if brought out. As to the Duke's little Jew, 
he has much merit as an active, enterprising man, but 
little judgment. I doubt if he does not often deceive 
himself. You may perhaps have also heard, that I 
have built up the entrance to my habitation, that I 
may see no one, and until Lord P. and his squad may 
think it proper to make me a public apology for having 
thus cast an odium upon my character, and having 
dared to order or to connive at a threat being used 
towards me : and by whom ? a dirty, venal agent of 
theirs. I have written these two lines to Coutts' 
house ; like other people, they treat me in a strange 
way ; but it is all one in the end. 

" Adieu, my dear Lord Hardwicke, the time will 
come when the world will produce rivals in sensibility ; 
at present men are beasts, worse than beasts. I should 
have been miserable to have been obliged to rank you 
with many others. God bless you, and reward you 
for the many kind actions you have done, and believe 
no one more sensible of your conduct than 

" Your affectionate, 

" H. L. S." 

Lord Hardwicke communicated this letter to my 
father, who replied as follows : 


Lord Stanhope to Lord Hardwicke 

" All that I could do in this business is to write to 
Lord Palmerston, when I could either mention or 
suppress your name, as you might prefer, to state that 
I have seen a letter from Hester, requesting that 
money might be raised upon her pension for the 
payment of her debts, and to express my hope, that 
under these circumstances he will authorize the 
Consul to sign, as heretofore, the usual certificates, 
and to inform the Egyptian authorities that she is 
taking measures to satisfy her creditors. Pray let 
me know what you think of this proposal, and whether 
you would permit me to mention your name." 

I fear this application was without result. The 
publication of her correspondence, which Lady 
Hester had so greatly at heart, was carried out, ac- 
cording to her directions, by the doctor. She had 
persuaded herself that her cause had only to become 
Known to excite the warmest sympathy, and enlist 
public opinion on her side. She dreamed of unknown 
champions, starting up to assert her rights, and 
redress her wrongs ; of her enemies put to shame, 
and a triumphant vindication of her character. But 
in this, as in all else, she was doomed to deception 
and disappointment, for what happened was exactly 
the reverse. The press proved bitterly hostile. So 
far from espousing her cause, the papers had nothing 
but ridicule and abuse for her. One champion alone 
she found in Sir William Napier, who, roused to great 
indignation by the insults heaped on his old friend, 
chivalrously came forward, and took up the cudgels in 
her defence. 

" To the Editor of The Times. 

" SIR, The correspondence of Lady Hester 
Stanhope, recently published in The Times, has given 
occasion for mirth with some unthinking people. It 
may in the end be found a serious matter. 


" This ' crack-brained lady,' as some of your con- 
temporaries falling, with the true instinct of 
baseness, upon what appeared to them a helpless 
and afflicted woman have called her, may appear, 
judged by English customs, somewhat wild in her 
views and expressions ; but in the East she is, as she 
well deserves to be, for her nobleness and virtues 
revered. Her influence is vast with the Arab tribes, 
and with all those who have suffered from Ibrahim's 
army, or who sigh over the tottering condition of the 
Turkish empire. She, more than any person, can 
secure to England the friendship of nations whose 
goodwill must be vitally essential to our interests, 
when and the time must soon come we have to 
contend with Russia for the independence of the 
Porte. And if her disposition was not too noble, 
too magnanimous, to seek such revenge, English 
travellers in the East might bitterly rue the insults 
offered to Lady Hester Stanhope. 

" It is no idle vaunt, no ' cracked-brained ' threat, 
for her to say ' the gauntlet has been thrown down 
before no driveller or coward.' To more than woman's 
quickness of perception, intuitive judgment and forti- 
tude, she adds more than man's sagacity, intrepidity, 
and daring. The extent of her power and resolution 
may be understood too late. If driven, by insult, to 
active enmity, she can, and will, do more of hurt to the 
interests of England in the East ay, more of hurt than 
the pitiful policy of Lord Palmerston has already done 
in that quarter. Her policy will stir men's feelings. 
It will bear no resemblance to that which has sent the 
British fleet to Malta when it should have been in the 
Dardanelles, to support the Sultan's treaty of com- 
merce, and in compensation rigorously maintain the 
Sultan's capitulations of commerce, by directing the 

4 i8 GOOD ADVICE [CH. ix 

British Consuls to persecute and insult an isolated, 
and, as it is erroneously supposed, a helpless woman. 
" It may be asked, what have I to do with the 
matter? In early life I was an inmate of Mr. Pitt's 
house, when Lady Hester Stanhope was the mistress 
of it, and when those, who now insult her, would have 
been too happy to lick the dust from her shoes. The 
hospitality, the kindness, the friendship I then experi- 
enced from Lady Hester did not cease with Mr. Pitt's 
death, nor by me are they forgotten ; nor is the 
friendship which subsisted between my family and 
her gallant brothers, Charles and James Stanhope, 
while they lived. 

" I remain, Sir, your obedient servant, 

" W. F. P. NAPIER, Colonel. 
"FRESHFIELD, NEAR BATH, December tfh, 1838." 

Her cough had, as usual, returned in full force in 
the winter, and she was again as usual beset with 
domestic worries. Unfortunately she had not carried 
out her intention of parting with most of her servants, 
and she was still surrounded by the same worthless 
and tormenting crew. 

M. Guys to Lady Hester 

"January lotA, 1839. 

" Je vois avec peine que votre toux est revenue, et 
qu'elle vous fatigue beaucoup; cependant il depend 
de vous de la calmer. Puisqu'elle est due a 1'irritation 
que vous causent vos gens, il n'est pas un seul remede 
a la chose, j'en vois deux : renvoyez ceux qui vous 
inquietent, ou bien faites les diriger par d'autres. 
Vous pourriez, Milady, vous require a moins de la 
moiti6 du monde que vous avez, et vous vous en 
trouveriez mieux sous tous les rapports. Je ne saurai 
trop vous prier de soigner votre sant6, puisqu'elle doit 
faire a peu pres toute votre consolation." 

1838-1839] DJOUN 419 

Why would she not profit by this excellent advice ? 
All she did was to recall Lunardi from Leghorn, 
sending him, through M. Guys, 1200 francs for various 
commissions he was to execute for her. 

Lady Hester to Dr. Meryon 

"February gtA, 1839. 

" I have to thank you lor a vast amount of trouble 
you have given yourself; all in the end will turn out 
well, I hope. I have written a few lines in answer 
to the Morning Chronicle, which you will afterwards 
see in ' Galignani,' without doubt. . . . What a simple- 
ton you are sometimes ! Leave my systems to me, 
and adopt those of your own ; but don't blame mine, 
as you have done, without knowing the reason of them. 

" Miss Pardoe's book I have not yet looked into. 
The one you sent me" (Diary of the Times of 
George IV.) " is interesting only to those who were 
acquainted with the persons named all mock taste, 
mock feeling, etc. ; but that is the fashion. ' I am this 
I am that/ who ever talked such empty stuff for- 
merly ? / was never named by a well-bred person. 

" There has been a vast deal of rain this year ; but 
not very cold the house nearly as usual. My cough 
continues my spirits the same. 

" A hyena came into the garden the other day, and 
Ibrahim Beytar killed it with only a bludgeon, and 
brought me the skin ; it is the first wild beast of the 
kind that has been so daring this winter. The dogs 
frightened the animal so much on the outside that it 
scaled the wall. . . . 

"Shut up as I am, I can have no news; advice you 
take ill, and call it scolding. . . . You must promise to 
state to me fairly the impression my affairs make on 
the English " (the doctor was then at Nice), " and what 
sort and what class of English." 


Lady Hester to Lord Hardwicke 

" \\th February, 1839. 

" DEAR LORD HARDWICKE, I requested you in my 
last letter to immediately sell my annuity and pension ; 
had you reasons for wishing to decline I should 
have respected them, but why not tell me so ? 
Perhaps again ' branches of my family ' have inter- 
fered. If so, the law shall teach them their rights and 
mine. 'Give unto Caesar the things which are 
Caesar's/ and leave the unpledged Hester to herself. 
This is all I want or require. Do not accuse me 
hereafter of deceit, because I am silent. Had I been 
treated as I ought to have been, I have much to say. 

" Adieu, my dear Lord H. If you have acted not 
most kindly by me, it is the first time in your life (I 
should believe) that any one could reproach you with 
want of feeling. Therefore it is to be forgiven for 
once, and it would be my fault were I to make an 
experiment a second time, or accept of offers of service, 
under, perhaps, the control of third persons who are 
ashamed to come forward, and being aware that if 
they did, they would receive no answer to any proposal 
they might make. 

" Believe me, 

" Most sincerely yours, 

" H. L. S." 
Lady Hester to Dr. Meryon 

" March \\th, 1839. 

" I believe your eyes and ears will be opened too 
late. You will then see, to your cost, that admonitions 
(called scoldings) were the highest compliment I could 
pay a man in your situation, by endeavouring to raise 
his mind to the altitude necessary to exist (one may 

1838-1839] DJOUN 421 

say) in a wreck of worlds. If you were so uneasy at 
Djoun, how will your nerves bear what you will be 
doomed to see ? But, when this time comes, no more 
advice from me to you or any one ; let all pick their 
way, and abide by the consequences. Words are 
nothing ; the hearts of men must be cleansed from all 
the vain, idle stuff they now cherish as a sort of safe- 
guard or escape-boat to evils of all kinds. If the 
naked savage, who has the feelings of a man, is not 
in high favour with the Almighty, and placed in a 
higher situation (if he continues to do his duty) than 
the educated my lord, the pedant, the gentleman, as 
it is called, without either conscience, talent, or money, 
I know nothing, and you may reproach me hereafter 
in the harshest possible terms. 

" It is a very mean spirit which fears obligation ; we 
are under obligations of the most serious nature every 
day to the horse, the ass, the cow, etc. All the stuff 
persons now call spirit, are the vulgar ideas of the 
lowest and least philosophical of human beings. 
What should I think of my deserted self, were I to 
constantly talk to Logmagi of obligation ? I am proud 
to acknowledge all I owe to his zeal and obedience. . . . 
There is at present a great kirkuby (uproar), seizing 
recruits for the Nizam, and entering by force into all 
sorts of houses, to seek for arms. . . . The Prophet is 
most comfortable in his new habitation ; I have 
planted shrubs for him round the windows, divided 
the room in two, and made all new, with an excellent 
sofa. . . ." 

The next letter, dated May 6th, gives an account 
(omitted by the doctor) of a furious quarrel between 
Logmagi and her .maid Zezef6on, in which the latter 
used her teeth as well as her tongue, and poor Logmagi 
got badly bitten. 


Lady Hester to Dr. Meryon 

" Thank God for my nerves ! Would you sleep 
alone in a room with this girl? And, besides, she told 
me, the other day, that she had only teeth for those 
who displeased her, and, therefore, you see she is not 
ashamed of herself; but I think no more of her than 
of a little babe, and sleep on quietly. All in the house 
have made wry faces after this affair even Logmagi, 
who would not like to be bitten a second time. . . . 

" Some one I suppose you sent me the Life of 
Lord Edward Fitzgerald. It is / who could give a 
true and most extraordinary account of all those 
transactions. The Duchess (Lord Edward's mother) 
was my particular friend, as was also his aunt. I 
was intimate with all the family, and knew that noted 
Pamela. All the books I see make me sick only 
catchpenny nonsense. 

" A thousand thanks for the promise of my grand- 
father's letters, but the book will be all spoilt, by being 
edited by young men. First, they are totally ignorant 
of the politics of my grandfather's age ; secondly, of 
the style of langua e used at that period ; and abso- 
lutely ignorant of his secret reasons and intentions 
and the real or apparent footing he was upon with 
many people, friends and foes. I know all that from 
my grandmother, who was his secretary, and, Coutts 
used to say, the cleverest man of her times in politics, 
business, etc. Even the late Lord Chatham, his son, 
had but an imperfect idea of all that took place. . . . 
Do not keep reproaching yourself about leaving me ; 
it did not depend on you to stay." . . . 

The next- probably the last letter Lady Hester 
ever wrote was in answer to one (here given) from 
Lord Hardwicke. She had reproached him with 


neglecting her affairs and ignoring her wishes, while 
he had, in fact, been hard at work to do the best he 
could for her in a most difficult business. 

Lord Hardwicke to Lady Hester 


"March i8M, 1839. 

" MY DEAR LADY HESTER, I have endeavoured to 
put your affairs, or rather to give you the means of 
putting your affairs, in a state that may save you from 
the pain and persecution to which I with pain believe 
you have been subject ; but, after consulting with 
Coutts, and reflecting on the peculiarity of your 
situation, separated as you are from friends and 
country, without having any one on whom you could 
rely to arrange a transaction like this one now the 
subject of this letter, I do not see my way towards 
extricating you from your present difficulties. Were 
you in England, you could then manage to make terms 
with the creditors, so as to make you comfortable for 
life ; and knowing, as I well do, that these debts were 
contracted chiefly to assist others, your conscience 
need not, I think, feel too acutely if, after your best 
exertions, and your surrender of nearly all you have, 
your property will not cover the whole of your debts. 

" Now, while writing, I am ignorant of the amount 
of your debts, but conceive them to amount to 8,000 
or 10,000. Were you in England this might be paid, 
as the value of your property, (taking your life as aged 
63 years, your income of 1,500 per annum would sell 
for 11,000, and your pension of 1,200 per annum 
would fetch 9,000) together 20,000. But then you 
must be seen and known, and in England, to produce 
this sum from your income. In the present state of 
affairs, yourself in Syria, it will fetch nothing ; they 


will not buy it. So here your good intention is stopped 
at once. 

" While writing this, I received your letter of the 
I4th of February, in which you seem to think I had 
been neglectful of your interests, but I have done all 
1 can, and 1 do not see the way out of the difficulty. 
It is my opinion that nothing can be done unless you 
come home. Your pension will, I understand, be paid 
up. You must also remember that, it I had the 
power to sell your pension and annuity, I could 
not commence the liquidation of the debts, for I do 
not know either the amount or the names of your 

" I assure you lam most anxious to be of service to 
you, but being without any means whatever, I fear 
you may still think me neglectful, as no progress can 
be made in this country. 

" It would be folly to sell your annuity and pension 
for less than it is worth, and, indeed, as I have before 
stated, without seeing you no one will give a year's 
purchase for either. 

" I am very glad to see by your letter that you are 
in good health. I hope you will not think I am 
deficient in feeling towards you, or that I am wanting 
in desire to serve you, because the results of my 
attempts have failed failed owing to circumstances 
over which I have no control, viz., your absence from 
England in a country so little known to the money- 
dealing men of this country. 

" This is quite a business letter, and as it is so, I 
will not introduce any other matter into it, but con- 
clude by expressing to you how ready I am to be of 
service to you, if you will point out the way, and 
assure you that I see no way out of your difficulties, 
unless you can raise money on your annuity and 


pension, and that cannot be done to any amount, with- 
out your presence in England. 
" Believe me always, 

" Yours most truly and affectionately, 


Lady Hester to Lord Hardwicke 


"6th of June, 1839. 

" MY DEAR LORD HARDWICKE, May it please the all- 
powerful Commander of events to give me a fair hour 
in which I may be able to give evidence to the world 
of my gratitude for your (having?) thus kindly in- 
terested yourself (in ?) my affairs, where others have 
forsaken (me ?). What you say about my coming to 
England I understand, and appears very reasonable, 
but I cannot, will never, go there but in chains, there- 
fore that subject must never more be mentioned. 
I have reflected, and feel that God will not forsake 
(me), and if no one will buy my pension, &c., I must 
advertize for a Cumberlands Jew to assist me. Young 
dancing Hamersley formerly was very generous in 
his transactions, but all men have become beasts vile, 
unfeeling, uninteresting beasts. After the 5th of July, 
I shall draw for the arrears of my pension, because 
I heard of it by other means than those only of 
Colonel Campbell, with whom I never will have any 
communication, a blackguard toady. The first debt 
I shall pay is a Turk, who, hearing some unpleasant 
conversation respecting one of my bills (or bonds), 
paid it directly. This I did not know for a month 
after. The man is not rich, but felt for me, and, like 
you, kind-hearted to all. For God's sake, do not let 
my impudent relations interfere in my concerns, or 
look over my accounts at Coutts'. Did ever anyone 
hear of conduct like what theirs has been ? Do not 

426 DEATH [CH. ix 

be unhappy about my future fate. I have done what 
I believe my duty, the duty of every one of every 
religion ; I have no reproaches to make myself, but 
that I went rather too far ; but such is my nature, and 
a happy nature too, who can make up its mind to 
everything but insult. I have been treated like a vile 
criminal, but God is great ! ! ! When I have quite 
made up my mind about what I shall do, I shall let 
you know, but avoid bothering you and boring you. 
My annuity will not do without the pension, and per- 
haps the two even not enough ; but that is no one's 
business but mine. 

" Dear Lord H., 

" Yours ever sincerely and affectionately, 

11 H. L. S." 

She died just a fortnight after this was written. 
She had been ill for months, but became suddenly 
worse three days before the end. From first to last 
she was without medical attendance. How was she 
cared for? Who nursed her? Was it the savage 
girl who " had teeth for those who displeased her," 
or the thief Fatoom ? There was no one left to look 
after her ; Lunardi arrived only a few days after he 
death. One's heart aches to think of her on her death 
bed, lying helpless and powerless, at the mercy of 
her servants, with no kindred hand to clasp in hers, 
no familiar sound of an English voice in her ear. She 
died as she had lived alone. 

The dragoman of the Austrian Consul-General com 
municated the news to Colonel Campbell : 

" Aujourd'hui, 23 Juin, a 2 heures apres midi, Lady 
Hester Stanhope, miladi, a expire apres une longue 
maladie, qui ne s'6tait agrav6e que depuis peu de 

Mr. Moore, our Consul at Beyrout, at once started 
for Djoun to make the necessary arrangements for her 
funeral, and writes to my father : 





1838-1839] LADY HESTER'S FUNERAL 427 

Mr. Moore to Lord Stanhope 


" June 26th, 1839. 

" No European medical attendant was present at the 
period of Lady Hester's decease, nor had one, I under- 
stand, for some time previous been called in. An 
express on the part of her Ladyship was despatched 
to her agent at Beyrout on Friday, the 2ist, requiring 
medical aid, but she had expired before the arrival of 
the messenger in town. 

" Desirous of obtaining a statement as to the cause 
of Lady Hester's death, I applied for that purpose to 
the ablest medical practitioner in this neighbourhood, 
Dr. d'Erode, with a request to accompany me to 
Djoun, but he was unable to comply therewith on 
account of the number of patients under his charge. 
Another medical man was also applied to for the same 
object, but was unfortunately absent. 

" The rapidity with which decomposition advances 
in this climate admitted of no delay in the arrange- 
ments for interment, and a few hours after I had been 
apprised of Lady Hester's decease, I left this place for 
Djoun, accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Thomson, an 
American missionary, who, at my request, kindly 
consented to perform the funeral service on this 

11 We arrived at Djoun about ten o'clock the same 
evening, and after identifying the body, and seeing it 
placed in a coffin, I decided on the interment taking 
place without delay. 

" Her Ladyship having left verbal directions as to 
the disposal of her body, viz. : that it should be 
deposited in a vault constructed in her own garden, 
the necessary arrangements being completed, and the 
funeral service of the Church of England performed 


by Mr. Thomson, the corpse was borne and followed 
to the tomb by her Ladyship's own domestics, accom- 
panied by Mr. Thomson and myself. 

" The next morning I directed a diligent search for 
a will, but without success. I then caused all Lady 
Hester's letters and papers to be placed in boxes, 
which were officially sealed. 

11 1 further left Signer Abella, the British consular 
agent at Sidon, in charge of the house and effects, 
with instructions to take exact inventories of all the 
household effects, wearing apparel, &c., the whole of 
which will remain under seal, until your Lordship 
may be pleased to give instructions relative to their 

" The servants, male and female, in Lady Hester's 
service were twenty-eight in number, and all 
Mahometans. According to information obtained 
from them, her Ladyship had been in an infirm state 
of health for the last three months, during which time 
she had not left the house to take her customary 
exercise in the garden. The day before her decease, 
she foresaw the approach of death, and said she should 
not outlive the next day. The impression was too 
well founded, as, about four o'clock of the day pre- 
dicted, she breathed her last, preserving, till within 
a few minutes of her decease, all her faculties. 

" In the absence of a European medical practitioner, 
I required the opinion of a native doctor as to the 
immediate cause of death. He attributed it to natural 
and general decay a conclusion there can be no 
difficulty in adopting, considering the advanced age 
of the deceased, and the attenuated appearance of the 
corpse. The features showed no indications of acute 
suffering, and were composed and placid. 

41 The debts of Lady Hester amount, 1 understand, 


1838-1839] LADY HESTER'S EFFECTS 429 

to about ;7,ooo, as far as my present information 
extends, consisting chiefly of promissory notes for 
money borrowed. The assets, consisting principally 
of household furniture (judging on a cursory estimate 
of their apparent value), may amount to 400 ; this 
valuation may, however, be erroneous, either way, 
as it is based on a hasty examination. Jewels I under- 
stand her Ladyship did not possess, nor any plate 
beyond some trifling articles, spoons and forks, which 
will find their place in the general inventory. . . . The 
house inhabited by Lady Hester was not her own. 
There are horses, as well as other domestic animals, 
all of which will be specified in the inventories. I 
have directed the female servants to be discharged, and 
such male servants to be retained as may be necessary 
for the preservation of the effects, and to protect an 
isolated house from marauders. 

" Early instructions in regard to the horses and the 
disposal of the household effects are desirable, as 
expenses are necessarily incurred for servants' wages 
who are left in charge, and for the maintenance of the 
horses, and it does not appear that any funds exist to 
meet these expenses." 

Here is the account given by the American mis- 
sionary : 

" The English Consul at Beyrout requested me to 
perform the religious services at the funeral of Lady 
Hester. It was an intensely hot Sabbath, in June, 
1839. We started on our melancholy errand at one 
o'clock, and reached this place about midnight. After 
a brief examination, the Consul decided that the 
funeral must take place immediately. The vault in 
the garden was hastily opened, and the bones of 
General Loustaneau or his son, I forget which a 


Frenchman who died here, and was buried in this 
vault by her Ladyship were taken out, and placed at 
the head. 

" The body, in a plain deal box, was carried by her 
servants to the grave, followed by a mixed company, 
with torches and lanterns, to enable them to thread 
their way through the winding alleys of the garden. I 
took a wrong path, and wandered for some time in the 
mazes of these labyrinths. When, at length, I entered 
the arbour, the first thing I saw were the bones of the 
General, in a ghastly heap, with the head on top, 
having a lighted taper stuck in either eye-socket a 
hideous, grinning spectacle. It was difficult to 
proceed with the service, under circumstances so 
novel and bewildering. The Consul subsequently 
remarked that there were some curious coincidences 
between this and the burial of Sir John Moore, her 
Ladyship's early love. In silence, on the lone moun- 
tain, at midnight, ' our lanterns dimly burning,' with 
the flag of her country over her, she ' lay like a 
warrior taking his rest,' and we ' left her alone in her 
glory.' There was but one of her own nation present, 
and his name was Moore. 

11 The people of Djoun, that village across the wady> 
made large profits from the liberality and extrava- 
gances of Lady Hester, and they are full of wonderful 
stories about her. Several of our friends at Sidon 
were in her service for years, and from them, and 
from others still more closely connected, I have had 
abundant opportunity to learn the character of this 
strange being. On most subjects she was not merely 
sane, but sensible, well-informed, and extremely 
shrewd. She possessed extraordinary powers of con- 
versation, and was perfectly fascinating to all with 
whom she chose to make herself agreeable. She was, 

1838-1839] GREEDY RETAINERS 43' 

however, whimsical, imperious, tyrannical, and at 
times revengeful to a high degree. Bold as a lion, she 
wore the dress of an Emir, weapons, pipe, and all ; nor 
did she fail to rule her Albanian guards and her servants 
with absolute authority. She kept spies in the prin- 
cipal cities, and at the residences of Pashas and Emirs, 
and knew everything that was going on in the country. 
Her garden, of several acres, was walled round like a 
fort, and crowning the top of this conical hill, with 
deep wadys on all sides, the appearance from a distance 
was quite imposing. But the site was badly chosen. 
The hill has no relative elevation above others ; the 
prospect is not inviting, the water is distant, far below, 
and had to be carried up on mules. She, however, 
had the English taste for beautiful grounds, and 
spared neither time, labour, nor expense to convert 
this barren hill into a wilderness of shady avenues, and 
a paradise of sweet flowers, and she succeeded. I have 
rarely seen a more beautiful place. 

" The morning after the funeral, the Consul and I 
went round the premises, and examined thirty-five 
rooms, which had been sealed up by the Vice-Consul 
of Sidon, to prevent robbery. They were full of trash. 
One had forty or fifty oil jars of French manufacture 
old, empty, and dusty. Another was crammed with 
Arab saddles, moth-eaten, tattered and torn. They 
had belonged to her mounted guard. Superannuated 
pipe-stems, without bowls, filled one room. Two more 
were devoted to medicines, and another to books and 
papers, mostly in boxes and ancient chests. Nothing 
of much value was found anywhere, and the seals were 
replaced, to await legal action. The crowd of servants 
and greedy retainers had appropriated to themselves 
her most valuable effects. One of the wealthy citizens 
of Sidon is said to have obtained his money in that 

43 2 REV. DR. THOMSON [CH. ix 

way. She told Mrs. Thomson that once, when she 
was supposed to be dying of plague, she could hear 
her servants breaking open her chests, and ripping off 
the embossed covers of her cushions. "Oh! didn't I 
vow," said she, "that if I recovered, I would make a 
scattering of them ! " and she performed her vow to 
the letter. But each succeeding set, like the flies in 
the fable of the fox, were as greedy as their pre- 
decessors ; and, as she finally died of a lingering 
disease, they had time enough to work their will, and 
nothing valuable escaped their rapacity. What a 
death ! Without a European attendant without a 
friend, male or female alone, on the top of this bleak 
mountain, her lamp of life grew dimmer and more dim, 
until it went quite out in hopeless, rayless night. Such 
was the end of the once gay and brilliant niece of Pitt, 
presiding in the saloons of the master spirit of Europe, 
and familiar with the intrigues of kings and cabinets. 
With Mr. Abbott and his lady, she would sit out the 
longest night, talking over those stirring times of the 
last century, and the beginning of the present, with 
exhaustless spirit and keen delight. But nothing could 
tempt her back to England. At length her income 
was greatly curtailed to pay her numerous debts. She 
was furious, but unsubdued. In her mountain nest, 
and all alone, she dragged out the remnant of her 
days in haughty pride and stubborn independence. 

" She could be extremely sarcastic, and her satire 
was often terrible. Many of her letters, and the 
margin of books which I purchased at the auction, are 
' illuminated ' with her caustic criticisms. There was 
no end to her eccentricities. In some things she was 
a devout believer an unbeliever in many. She read 
the stars, and dealt in nativities, and a sort of second 
sight, by which she pretended to foretell coming 


events. She practised alchemy, and, in pursuit of this 
vain science, was often closeted with strange com- 
panions. She had a mare, whose backbone sank 
suddenly down at the shoulders, and rose abruptly 
near the hips. This deformity her vivid imagination 
converted into a miraculous saddle, on which she was 
to ride into Jerusalem as queen, by the side of some 
sort of Messiah, who was to introduce a fancied 
millennium. Another mare had a part to play in this 
august pageant, and both were tended with extra- 
ordinary care. A lamp was kept burning in their 
very comfortable apartments, and they were served 
with sherbet and other luxuries. Nothing about the 
premises so excited my compassion as these poor pam- 
pered brutes, upon which Lady Hester had lavished 
her choicest affections for the last fourteen years. 
They were soon after sold at auction, when hard work 
and low living quickly terminated their miserable 
existence. Lady Hester was a doctor, and most 
positive in her prescriptions to herself, her servants, 
her horses, and even to her chickens, and often did 
serious mischief to all her patients. She had many 
whimsical tests of character both for man and beast, 
and, of course, was often deceived by both, to her cost. 
But we must end these random sketches. To draw a 
full-length portrait is aside from our purpose and 
beyond our power. She was wholly and magnificently 
unique." The Land and the Book, by W. M. Thomson, 

The household effects at Djoun were sold to pay the 
servants' wages, &c. Lady Hester's will, a very old 
one, made in September, 1807, was found deposited 
with Messrs. Coutts, together with three boxes con- 
taining letters and papers, a silver-gilt coffee-pot and 
stand, a gold powder horn, and some trinkets of 
trifling value. She bequeathed all her maternal 


fortune (long since spent) to her brothers Charles 
and James, and then to General Anderson. There 
was a codicil, added just before she left England, as 
follows : 

" I' leave the sum of 500 to my maid, Elizabeth 
Williams, and also my trinkets, with these excep- 
tions : 

" Pearl locket, with Mr. Pitt's hair, to the Duchess 
of Richmond. 

" Present of the Cardinal Duke of York, to the Duke 
of Richmond. 

" Tippoo Saib's powder horn to Lord Temple ; it 
was given to me by Mr. Pitt. 

" The late Lord Chatham's seal to General Miranda. 

" My watch to Mr. Howard ; and fifty guineas, for a 
gold snuff-box, to Mr. Murray." 

"January ist, 1810; very unwell ; in bed all day." 

The balance due to her on Messrs. Coutts' account 
was nearly 2,000 (1,946 55. 30?.). 

All the persons mentioned in the will were dead, 
with the sole exception of General Anderson, who, 
with Mr. Murray, was named as executor, and the 
fortune bequeathed to him had been spent. The 
watch mentioned had probably been lost in the ship- 
wreck, as she had none in her possession at Djoun. 
None of its provisions could in consequence be carried 
out, and it was administered by the creditors. But 
they could not be brought to agree among themselves; 
they wrangled, and squabbled, and delayed ; thus the 
settlement of Lady Hester's affairs proved a very 
lengthy and tedious business. Some of the creditors 
were killed in the Druse insurrection of 1841 before it 
was completed ; but in the end 1 believe all the bond 
fide debts were paid. My father bought the papers, 
powder horn, trinkets, &c. The silver-gilt inkstand 
went to the only surviving legatee, General Anderson, 
once one of her best and dearest friends, but whom 
she had, long ago, discarded with the rest of her 
English correspondents. " For many years," he says 

1838-1839] VALE 435 

in a letter to my father, " all correspondence between 
me and Lady Hester had ceased." 
Another old friend writes to my father : 

Sir F. Burdett to Lord Stanhope 

"July 30//&, 1839. 

" MY DEAR LORD STANHOPE, Your letter yesterday 
gave me most unfeigned sorrow, acquainting me with 
the death of Lady Hester. 

"Although nothing could be more apparently im- 
possible than that I should have ever again seen her, 
still there is a natural and strange feeling about the 
loss, for so it is, of one to whom you have been long 
and greatly attached. Some of my earliest, and most 
agreeable recollections of days past at Chevening, 
have a melancholy shadow cast behind upon them 
by the death of so highly gifted, and honourable 
minded, and extraordinary a person as was Lady 
Hester Stanhope. 

" It fills my heart with a sadness I could not have 
anticipated, and can scarcely account for I mean 
reasonably so, however, it is, and so I remain, 
" Believe me, my dear Lord Stanhope, 
"Yours very sincerely, 




THE doctor meanwhile was busied with his book, 
and in December my father was greatly disturbed 
on being apprised of this intended publication. He 
wrote to beg Dr. Meryon to reconsider his decision. 

Lord Stanhope to Dr. Meryon 

" I am convinced, from all I know of your character, 
that you would deeply regret if you were to be the 
instrument of wounding the feelings of Lady Hester's 
relations and friends by a disclosure of family anec- 
dotes and domestic dissensions which ought to remain 
unknown to the world ; and I beg you to reflect 
whether it would be worthy of your professional 
eminence and reputation to communicate publicly 
what was learned only in the confidential intercourse 
of private life." 

The doctor's reply was in forma pauperis. He stated 
that he was in his fifty-sixth year, with a wife and 
family whom he was unable to support as his position 
in life required. The salary given him by Lady Hester 
was so small that he had never been able to put by 
a single farthing, and he had always been given to 
understand that he should be provided for, as she 
often expressed a wish to " make the decline of his 
life easy." He had spent the best years of his life 
in her service ; he had crossed the Mediterranean four 
times on her account, " guided by his sense of devotion 
and attachment to her " ; he had sacrificed all personal 
considerations when she was in question. She had 



herself acknowledged her obligations to him in the 
warmest possible manner in writing to Mr. Webb 
(see p. 250). As regarded the impropriety of pub- 
lishing private conversations, he had no intention of 
being guilty of such a dereliction of his professional 
duties. It was rather to comply with Lady Hester's 
wishes that he had written his book. 

Dr. Meryon to Lord Stanhope 

" It was her legacy to me, for she had nothing else 
to leave me, and I confess I have indulged the hope 
that the profits will, in a pecuniary sense, in part 
realize her good intentions towards me. . . . Having 
on one occasion said that, had she chosen to write 
her own life, she might have paid her debts by it, 
she laughingly observed, that she could never have 
patience to write a book, nor even to dictate one, 
but could tell me a few stories now and then to 
help me to write one with." 1 

He had, he thought, brought together much that 
" would do honour to her name, and furnish materials 
for reflection to the philosopher and moralist." 

But, as he had no wish to give pain to her family, 
he had ordered the publication to be suspended. 

My father's answer was not, I fear, what he expected. 

Lord Stanhope to Dr. Meryon 

" Though I see no reason to doubt that my sister 
Hester was sincerely desirous of befriending any 
person to whom she owed obligations, she had no 

1 Here I must be permitted to join issue with him. Lady Hester 
may not have objected to his writing down any anecdotes she chose 
to tell him, but he was one of the last persons she would have selected 
as her biographer. He himself tells us that once, when giving him 
some messages for Messrs. Knox & Forster, she said to him : "You 
may talk to them a little about stars, but I daresay you will commit 
some horrible blunder, as you always do : and that is what makes 
me so afraid of your having to say anything concerning me." Little 
indeed did she imagine how he was then employed ! It is evident 
she did not think very highly of his understanding, and she declared 
that, owing to his inaccuracy, he made misghief every time he opened 
his mouth, 


means of doing so, as must have been obvious to 
those who were in any degree acquainted with her 
situation. . . . With respect to your work, I thought 
it my duty to protest against its publication, and 
still continue to do so, and I am informed that some 
persons to whom it has been communicated con- 
sidered it objectionable in several respects. You will 
judge what is due to your own reputation, and to 
that of my sister, and without interfering on my side 
in what you may suppose to be a profitable under- 
taking, I reserve to myself the right, if the character 
and conduct of any person should be assailed in this 
work, of taking such measures as may appear to me 
necessary for their vindication." 

This correspondence had the good effect of delaying 
the publication of the Memoirs for some time ; and it 
was Lady Hester's correspondence with General Oakes 
that first saw the light. 1 It was commenced in the 
January number of the New Monthly Magazine of 
1843; and on March 3rd Dr. Meryon writes that "he 
takes the liberty of mentioning that he has nothing 
whatever to do with it." He was then applying for 
the Consulship at Cyprus, and begged my father to 
ask my brother (who was at that time at the Foreign 
Office) to speak in his favour. This appointment he 
did not, however, succeed in obtaining; and in 1845 
he at last made up his mind to bring out his book, 
carefully substituting initials for almost all the names 
mentioned in it. He says in his preface : 

" I beg leave, in the most explicit terms, to apprize 
the reader that I have published nothing that Lady 
Hester would not have desired to be now made 
known. . . . My object being to portray a character 
which is not duly appreciated by people in general, 
I could devise no better means than that of giving 

1 These letters twenty-five in number are now in the Forster 
Bequest to the South Kensington Museum, 


a diary of her conversations, wherein her obser- 
vations of men and things fall naturally from her 
own mouth." 

He gives a pitiable account of the state in which 
he left her. 

" Will it be believed that, when in August 1838, 
I took leave of her, the beam of the ceiling of the 
saloon in which she ordinarily sat was propped up 
by two unsightly spars of wood, for fear the ceiling 
should fall on her head ; and that these deal pillars, 
very nearly in the rough state in which they had 
been brought from the North in some Swedish vessel, 
stood in the centre of the room ? Her bedroom was 
still worse ; for there the prop was a rough unplaned 
trunk of a poplar-tree, cut at the foot of the hill on 
which her own house stood. . . ." 

He was under no illusion how, indeed, is it pos- 
sible he should have been ? as to the position she 
would have to face when he went away. 

"There is no doubt that, by prolonging my stay on 
Mount Lebanon, I might have been of considerable 
service to her Ladyship. She was about to shut 
herself up alone, without money, without books, 
without a soul she could confide in ; without a single 
European, male or female, about her; with winter 
coming on, beneath roofs certainly no longer water- 
proof, and that might fall in ; with war at her doors, 
and without any means of defence except in her own 
undaunted courage ; with no one but herself to carry 
on her correspondence ; so that everything conspired 
to make it an imperative duty to remain with her, 
yet she would not allow me to do so, and insisted 
on my departure on an appointed day, declaring it 


to be her fixed intention to remain immured, as in 
a tomb, until reparation had been made her for the 
supposed insult she had received from the British 

Sad as is this catalogue of poor Lady Hester's 
miseries and trials, Dr. Meryon yet omits the greatest 
of them all the broken' health that doubled the weight 
of every burden she had to bear. She was so ill that 
he thought it very doubtful (see p. 406) whether she 
would live through the winter; and after his departure 
the barber at Sayda would be the only doctor at hand. 
When he left Djoun, he went no further than Cyprus, 
where he spent some little time, and he might surely 
have remained within reach at Beyrout. 

His book was reviewed in the Quarterly of September, 
1845, and 1 have here given some extracts from the 
article, as I think it contains a very just estimate of 
Lady Hester's character : 

" The publication of private correspondence, and of 
other matters of a private nature touching individuals 
deceased, has more than once drawn from us remarks, 
which we deemed it the bounden duty of those who 
exercise the functions of literary police to make. . . . 
We are once more brought to dwell on this subject 
by the appearance of a new feature which it presents, 
in the disclosure, for the first time, by a medical 
gentleman, of the matters communicated to him during 
his professional attendance his attendance, too, upon 
a lady a. lady of high rank, and with many high 
qualities, but unhappy, solitary, ill at ease in body 
and in mind, an exile among the wilds of Lebanon, 
having no one near her to whom she could speak of 
bygone days and buried friends or foes, nobody but 
this physician. ... It is one of the many reasons 
against publishing such journals that great errors 
can hardly be avoided even by all the care which 
may be used to insure correctness. . . . The warning 


thence arising to the reader that he should be on his 
guard is the more necessary for the sake of common 
charity, and indeed common justice, because the 
nature of such a book unavoidably is such as to 
give it extraordinary attractions. These volumes 
are such as no one who takes them up can easily 
lay down. The character of the principal personage 
is one of no ordinary interest. 

" The grand-daughter of Lord Chatham, Lady Hester 
had all his spirit and his fire, much of his penetrating 
quickness, some of his fancy, not a few of his eccen- 
tricities. She was not well informed ; for though she 
had read a good deal, her reading had been very 
desultory, and though she had lived with some of 
the ablest men of her day, she had mingled in their 
conversation with an overweening confidence in her 
own powers, little lively to make her a docile auditor, 
or a careful storer-up of what she might hear. For 
many of the latter years of her singular life, she neither 
read nor conversed with those who had; her inter- 
course being only with her servants, a few of the 
natives, some occasional visitors, for a few excited 
moments each, and this journalising doctor, whose 
share in the performance indicates very scanty litera- 
ture, or information of any kind. But in the great 
faculty of seeing clearly into character, she excelled 
to the last, and was seldom mistaken, unless when 
her temper or her prejudice dug pitfalls for her 
judgment. Her courage was undaunted at all .times, 
her patience and fortitude far greater than such a 
temperament could have easily made credible; her 
pride towering, like that of all her house; her honour, 
like theirs, pure irom every stain ; her generosity so 
boundless as to spurn all the limits which her means 
prescribed. In her ideas, and so in her projects, there 


was ever somewhat of the romantic much of fancy, 
little of reason and reflection ; yet with all this which 
points to the ideal and impracticable, she acquired an 
influence, an ascendancy over those with whom she 
came in contact, whether public or private parties, 
which seems all but fabulous, and she was truly for 
some years regarded as a kind of power in the Levant, 
though living with a small retinue, in a lone house, 
on a moderate income. This she owed to her firm 
and commanding will. Difficulties she contemned, 
and impossibility was not a word of her vocabulary, 
any more than of her grandfather's. That her 
illustrious uncle derived his cool and practical judg- 
ment from the cross of the Grenville blood can well 
be conceived, but then we must, in contemplating the 
niece, have recourse to the supposition either that 
Chatham's fervent heat had, with his gout, passed 
over one generation, or that the Stanhope admixture 
had neutralized the Grenville influence, for assuredly 
no two characters ever resembled each other less, in 
all but generous neglect of self, and high principles 
of honour, than did those of Mr. Pitt and Lady Hester. 
Nor was there less of likeness in the outward form 
than in the interior of these remarkable relatives. 
Lady Hester was, though tall, of a fine and feminine 
form ; and as her figure was graceful, her features 
were both beautiful and expressive. She might well, 
in her early days, fix the deepest affections of as 
noble-hearted a soldier as ever died on the bed of 
honour. She might well, ere that cruel termination 
of her hopes gave the ultimate dark shade to her 
temperament, have been the chosen solace of the 
private hours of Mr. Pitt. 

" She was the daughter of his favourite sister, and 
lived with him for the last years of his eventful life, 


With her great talents, her lively and various con- 
versation, her admirable manners, her frankness so 
likely to relieve one whose shyness was habitual and 
painful she became the favourite associate of his 
leisure, and before her he freely unbent himself. 

" Her imagination so mastered her reason that, 
notwithstanding her knowledge of mankind, her emi- 
nently suspicious nature, and her boasted knowledge 
of seeing through characters, she was the easy dupe 
of impostors. Thus projectors were ever obtaining 
money from her. Some man, designated as X. in 
these volumes, but whose real name should be made 
known, pretended to bear a message from the Dukes 
of Sussex and Bedford to her, with offers of pecuniary 
assistance to liquidate her debts, and obtained entire 
possession of her confidence, which, of course, he 
must have turned to his profit, and her loss. The 
rumour of a Colonel Needham having left his pro- 
perty in Ireland to Mr. Pitt, who pre-deceased him 
by a few days, made her never doubt that his 
heir-at-law, Lord Kilmorey, must make over his 
estates to her, at least after his own decease, and 
she was, for years, in expectation of a favourable 
answer on this head from Sir Francis Burdett, to 
whom she had written as her negotiator, but who, 
no doubt, considered the whole affair as some Irish 
joke, or Syrian dream. 

"After all, however, her embarrassments appear 
clearly to have resulted from her boundless charities, 
and her noble munificence to those she protected. 
Her country and her countrymen reaped largely the 
benefits of all her expenditure, into which nothing 
mean, or paltry, or selfish, or calculating, entered; 
and we must say that we feel truly disgusted at the 


return she received from the British Ministry for all 
her generosity a return which appears, if not illegal, 
yet to approach the very limits of the law. Some 
moneylender complained that she was in debt to him, 
wherupon Lord Palmerston thought proper to issue 
his orders to the consuls in the Levant, that they 
should refuse any certificate of her being alive, which 
ceremony was necessary in order to give her the 
right to draw her pension quarterly ! . . . We verily 
believe this instance of official oppression is without 
an example, and we are curious to hear by what law 
it was justified." 

Ten years after her death, Lady Hester's deserted 
house at Djoun was visited and described by Eliot 
Warburton : 

" It was late when we came in sight of two conical 
hills, on one of which stands the village of Djouni, 
on the other, a circular wall, over which dark trees 
were waving, and this was the place in which Lady 
Hester Stanhope had finished her strange and eventful 
career. It had formerly been a convent, but the Pacha 
of Sidon had given it to the ' prophet-lady,' who con- 
verted its naked walls into a palace, and its wilderness 
into gardens. 

" The sun was setting as we entered the enclosure, 
and we were soon scattered about the outer court, 
picketing our horses, rubbing down their foaming 
flanks, and washing out their wounds. The buildings 
that constituted the palace were of a very scattered 
and complicated description, covering a wide space, 
but only one story in height; courts and gardens, 
stables and sleeping-rooms, halls of audience and 
ladies' bowers, were strangely intermingled. Heavy 
weeds were growing everywhere among the open 

1849] DJOUN IN 1849 445 

portals, and we forced our way with difficulty through 
a tangle of roses and jasmine to the inner court. 
Here choice flowers once bloomed, and fountains 
played in marble basins, but now was presented a 
scene of the most melancholy desolation. As the 
watchfire blazed up, its gleam fell upon masses of 
honeysuckle and woodbine ; on white, mouldering 
walls beneath, and dark, waving trees above, while 
the group of mountaineers who gathered round its 
light, with their long beards and vivid dresses, com- 
pleted the strange picture. 

" The clang of sword and spear resounded through 
the long galleries, horses neighed among bowers and 
boudoirs, strange figures hurried to and fro among 
the colonnades, shouting in Arabic, English, and 
Italian, the fire crackled, the startled bats flapped 
their heavy wings, and the growl of distant thunder 
filled up the pauses in the rough symphony. 

" Our dinner was spread on the floor in Lady 
Hester's favourite apartment ; her deathbed was our 
sideboard, her furniture our fuel, her name our con- 
versation. Almost before the meal was ended, two of 
our party had dropped asleep over their trenchers 
from fatigue ; the Druses had retired from the haunted 
precincts to their village ; and W., L., and I went out 
into the garden, to smoke our pipes by Lady Hester's 
lonely tomb. About midnight we fell asleep upon the 
ground, wrapped in our capotes, and dreamed of 
ladies, and tombs, and prophets, till the neighing of 
our horses announced the dawn. 

" After a hurried breakfast on fragments of the last 
night's repast, we strolled over the extensive grounds. 
Here many a broken arbour or trellis, bending under 
masses of jasmine and honeysuckle, show the care 
and taste that were once lavished on this wild but 

446 DJOUN IN 1849 [CH. x 

beautiful hermitage. A garden-house, surrounded by 
an enclosure of roses run wild, lies in the midst of a 
grove of myrtle and bay trees. This was Lady 
Hester's favourite resort during her lifetime, and now, 
within its silent enclosure, 

'After life's fitful fever, she sleeps well.' 

" The hand of ruin has dealt very sparingly with all 
these interesting relics ; the Pacha's power by day, 
and the fear of spirits by night, keep off marauders, 
and though we made free with broken benches and 
fallen doorposts for fuel, we reverently abstained from 
displacing anything in the establishment, except a few 
roses, which there was no living thing but bees and 
nightingales to regret. It was one of the most striking 
and interesting spots I ever witnessed ; its silence and 
beauty, its richness and desolation, lent to it a touching 
and mysterious character, that suited well the memory 
of that strange hermit lady, who has made it a place of 
pilgrimage, even in Palestine. 

" The Pacha of Sidon presented Lady Hester with 
the deserted convent of Mar Elias on her arrival in his 
country, and this she soon converted into a fortress, 
garrisoned by a band of Albanians ; her only 
attendants besides were her doctor, her secretary, and 
some female slaves. Public rumour soon busied itself 
with such a personage, and exaggerated her influence 
and power. It is even said that she was crowned 
Queen of the East at Palmyra by 50,000 Arabs. She 
certainly exercised almost despotic power in her 
neighbourhood on the Mountain ; and, what was, 
perhaps, the most remarkable proof of her talents, she 
prevailed on some Jews to advance large sums of 
money to her on her note of hand. She lived for 
many years, beset with difficulties and anxieties, but 


to the last she held on gallantly ; even when confined 
to her bed and dying, she sought for no companionship 
or comfort but such as she could find in her own 
powerful, though unmanageable mind. 

" Mr. Moore, our Consul at Beyrout, hearing she was 
ill, rode over the mountains to visit her, accom- 
panied by Mr. Thomson, the American missionary. 
It was evening when they arrived, and a pro- 
found silence was over all the palace; no one met 
them; they lighted their own lamps in the outer 
court, and passed unquestioned through court and 
gallery, until they came to where she lay. A corpse 
was the only inhabitant of the palace, and the isolation 
from her kind, which she had sought so long, was 
indeed complete. That morning, thirty-seven servants 
had watched every motion of her eye ; its spell once 
darkened by death, every one fled with such plunder 
as they could secure. A little girl, adopted by her and 
maintained for years, took her watch, and some papers 
on which she had set peculiar value. Neither the 
child nor the property were ever seen again. Not a 
single thing was left in the room where she lay dead, 
except the ornaments upon her person ; no one had 
ventured to touch these ; even in death, she seemed 
able to protect herself. At midnight, her countryman 
and the missionary carried her, out by torchlight, to a 
spot in the garden that had been formerly her favourite 
resort, and here they buried the self-exiled Lady." 
The Crescent and the Cross. 

This account of Lady Hester's death-bed is, as we 
have seen, purely imaginary, for the Consul found all 
the thirty-four servants in the house when he arrived. 
True, they had plundered her ; the store-rooms were 
empty, and except the forks and spoons, all they could 
lay hands on was gone ; but she possessed no watch 

44 8 DJOUN IN 1857 [CH. x 

for them to take. The description would, however, 
exactly apply to her severe illness in 1828, when a 
compassionate peasant, coming in to look after her, 
found her utterly deserted, lying starving, and almost 
inanimate, in her bed (see p. 258). 

The next recorded visitor to Djoun was Mr. Thom- 
son, the American missionary, who, returning there in 
1857, after eighteen years' absence, found the place had 
been completely and purposely destroyed. 

" A melancholy change has indeed come over the 
scene since first I visited it. The garden, with its 
trellised arbours, and shaded alleys, and countless 
flowers, is utterly destroyed ; and not one room of all 
her large establishment remains entire. This, on the 
south-west corner, was the apartment in which Lady 
Hester wore out the three last dreary months of life ; 
and this, on the east of it, was the open lewan, where 
we found the body, wrapped in waxed cloths dipped 
in turpentine and spirits. The whole of these premises 
were alive with her servants, and others assembled on 
this mournful occasion. Now, not a dog, cat, or even 
lizard appears to relieve the utter solitude. The 
tomb, also, is sadly changed. It was then embowered 
in dense shrubbery, and covered with an arbour of 
running roses, not a vestige of which now remains, 
and the stones of the vault itself are broken and dis- 
placed. There is no inscription not a word in any 
language, and unless more carefully protected than 
hitherto, the last resting-place of her Ladyship will 
soon be entirely lost. The history of this place is 
peculiar. It belonged to a wealthy Christian of 
Damascus, who built the original house, to which 
Lady Hester added some twenty-five or thirty rooms. 
At his death, soon after hers, the property was left to 
an only son, who quickly spent it all by his extra- 
vagance. He then turned Moslem and not long ago 

i88i] DJOUN IN 1881 449 

hung himself in a neighbouring house. His Moslem 
wife a low, vulgar creature fearing that the 
Christians would one day deprive her of the place, 
tore down the buildings, and sold the materials to the 
people of Djoun. Thus the destruction has been 
intentional, rapid, and complete." The Land and the 
Book, by W. M. Thomson, D.D. 

At last but not till forty-two years after Lady 
Hester's death one of her own kith and kin, her great- 
nephew, Philip Stanhope, 1 came to see the place where 
she had lived and died, and found a grave. He was 
accompanied by his wife, and in 1895 they both 
returned again with me. He kept no journal at the 
time, and the following account of his visit was 
written at my request, sixteen years after it had taken 

" Our first visit to Djoun was made in March, 1881. 
Starting from Beyrout on horseback, and with tents, 
we took the road along the sea-shore to Saida, where 
we camped for the night. There is, I believe, another 
and a shorter road from Beyrout to Saida across the 
mountains, but you, who know how rough and 
difficult are the mountain paths in the Lebanon, will 
understand that the shore route was the preferable 
one. At Saida we were assisted by the advice of the 
Consul, then, as now, if I remember right, a member of 
the Abela family, who date back, I think, to Lady 
Hester's time. 

"The road to Djoun was much worse in 1881 than 
when we visited it together, and the village, in which 
one now sees many new houses, was in a dilapidated 
and forlorn condition. We were shown several 
articles of furniture which were said to have belonged 
to Lady Hester, but with the exception of a silver tea 
service, with her initials, which we purchased, there 

1 Now Lord Weardale. 

45 o DJOUN IN 1881 [CH. x 

was really nothing of interest to be found. There 
were also old people who remembered her, but I do 
not think we saw the servant whom we met on the 
occasion of our later visit. 

" The house was entirely unoccupied, but the 
building was, with the exception of the roof, intact, 
and it was possible to trace the disposition of the 
rooms and the peculiar arrangement of ante-chambers 
for servants, dependants, &c., common to Oriental 
houses, which separated Lady Hester's private apart- 
ments from the remainder of the building. 

" In the garden was Lady Hester's tomb, in a rather 
ruinous condition, but with no inscription whatever 
upon it. We had thought of having some inscription 
placed thereon, but with no means of preserving it, 
and the recollection that Lady Hester herself had, I 
believe, particularly desired that no permanent 
memorial should be erected, we abandoned the idea. 
Mr. Moore, the Consul who buried her, was then still 
alive a very old man in London ; but he was unable 
to give any further particulars beyond those contained 
in the letter to my grandfather, which you possess. 
The disposition of gardens and terraces was more 
easily distinguishable than now, when the plough has 
been at work among them. We understand that the 
monastery to which the house and property belonged 
were anxious to sell them, and, indeed, overtures were 
made to us to buy them. No more beautiful position 
for a winter resort could be well imagined, but the 
inaccessible position and the great distance from 
England rendered such a proposal impossible to be 

I am the only other member of the family who has 
made the pilgrimage to Djoun ; it was in the winter of 
1895. I had been cruising in the Levant in a small 


steam yacht, with my nephew and niece and Mr. 
George Leveson-Gower for shipmates, and before 
leaving Beyrout for Cyprus we settled to spend a day 
at Sidon, and see Lady Hester's house. I will here 
transcribe a few pages of my journal, giving an account 
of our visit : 

Wednesday, December 4. To-day has been per- 
fectly delightful. I am beginning to feel a little 
conceited about our persistent luck in fine weather, 
and to believe that in this respect, if in no other, I 
resemble the Queen. After yesterday's rain and wind, 
we had a hot, cloudless summer's day, and a smooth 
sea, though there was the inevitable ground swell, 
which, Ina complains, is spoken of as ' only a ground 
swell,' and yet makes us roll so merrily. We left 
Beyrout in such good time that we accomplished our 
voyage of three hours to Saida before breakfast time, 
and were immediately boarded by the Consul, Dr. 
Abela, bringing me an enormous bouquet of roses, 
chrysanthemums, and jonquils from his garden; the 
season for jonquils, he said, was just beginning. The 
Consul-General at Beyrout had apprised him of our 
coming, and he had horses ready for Philip, Ina, and 
George, and a litter for me 1 a most comfortable con- 
trivance. It was a chair mounted on poles, sheltered 
with curtains and an awning, and provided with 
cushions and a footboard. The whole population of 
Saida turned out to see us land, as European visitors 
are few and far between ; and while the others were 
having their English saddles put on their horses, and 
mounting, I sat in my chair, surrounded by a gaping 
crowd, like a wild beast in its cage. I flatter myself 
no wild beast could have excited greater interest, or 
given more general satisfaction. At length, four 
stalwart porters lifted the poles, and we were off. 

1 The Duchess was then 76. 


We entered the little town through a gate built by the 
Crusaders a long vaulted passage and, passing the 
ruins of a mediaeval castle, found ourselves in a quaint, 
picturesque street, full of fruit-sellers. Remembering 
how sea-sick the poor Pope used to look in his chair 
of state at St. Peter's, I had not expected to like my 
litter, but I thought the slow swing of the motion 
very enjoyable, and at once felt a strong wish to be 
carried, in the same way, all over the country, with 
a tent to receive me every night. 

" The first part of our way lay along the sands of 
the sea-shore, which the road to Beyrout follows for 
the whole distance ; then we turned inland, among the 
gardens and orchards of ' flowery Sidon,' which pro- 
duce some of the finest fruit in the world : the 
oranges, I am told, are celebrated. Every now and 
then came a whiff of scent from a cassia tree. The 
track was of rolling stones, like a rough water-course. 
We followed the course of the river Anwali, which 
irrigates all this little plain, crossed it on a bridge said 
to date from the Roman times, and at once began the 
ascent of the mountains. They are all rocks and 
brushwood, at this season quite brown, though the 
last rains have brought out patches of bright green, 
and in another fortnight there will be verdure every- 
where. But they are beautiful even now, rising tier 
above tier in endless variety, grouping themselves 
anew at each turn of the road, and clear cut against 
the blue sky. The sun was very hot, and the ' road ' 
ill-deserved the name : it more resembled a wild goat's 
path, clambering over great boulders of rock ; but the 
horses climbed like cats. Our cavalcade consisted, 
besides ourselves, of the Consul, the Consul's son, 
who had kindly offered to photograph us at Djoun, 
his kawass, a guide carrying our luncheon, and two 

1895] DJOUN IN 1895 453 

men with guns, whom I believed to be our escort, till 
I was told they were villagers returning home. The 
country seemed very lonely : we met only an occasional 
shepherd or goat herd. 

" At last, turning a shoulder of the mountain, we 
came in sight of Djoun (now spelt ' Jun '), built on 
a steep slope, overlooking a beautiful little valley 
watered by the Anwali, full of gardens and olive 
groves, some of them containing very fine trees. 
The houses are well built, of white stone, and it is, 
the Consul says, a thriving place, that has doubled its 
population since Lady Hester's time. Thence a wild 
clamber, over very rough ground, led us up the 
mountain on which stood her house. When Philip 
was here, fifteen years ago, it was already a complete 
ruin, but the garden remained, allowed to run wild, 
with some flowers still lingering on the terraces. 
Now, alas ! garden and terraces alike have disappeared ; 
the ground has been let to a farmer, ploughed up, and 
planted with mulberries. Only some of the olives and 
orange trees that she planted are left, and the exact 
place of her burial cannot be determined, as nothing 
remains of the vault. 1 Dr. Abela brought us an old man 
who had been in her service as a boy, and was four- 
teen at the time of her death, who pointed out where 
he thought her grave had been, and showed us the 
point on (what had been) the upper terrace, where she 
used to stand and watch through her field-glass the 
ships passing on the distant sea with what feeling, 
who can say ? Did she never wish herself on board, 

1 In the course of excavations undertaken in 1912 by the Superior- 
General of the Greek Catholic Convent of " St. Sauveur " at Djoun 
the skeleton of Lady Hester was discovered, enclosed in a coffin of 
hard thick wood still in a fair state of preservation. The Superior- 
General has caused a tombstone to be placed over the carefully built 
in-grave in which Lady Hester, according to her instructions, had 
been buried. 

454 DJOUN IN 1895 [CH. x 

with all sails set, spreading her wings for flight ? We 
cannot tell ; we can scarcely even picture her to our 
selves in such changed surroundings, for everything- 
that was here in her time is gone. Her arbours and 
trellises, her alleys and fountains, her alcoves and 
terraces, have all disappeared ; her groves of myrtles 
and bay trees are cut down, and every flower she 
planted rooted up. Yet we can at least stand in the 
same place where she stood, and look out on the same 
view and what a view it is ! The situation of Djoun 
is simply magnificent, overlooking, from its isolated 
mountain top, the whole country round, far and near, 
with the luxuriant valley traversed by the Anwali, 
and all its groves and gardens, nestling at its foot. 
On every side except one it is surrounded by the 
towering crests of the Lebanon ; but to the west a 
wide opening, like a great portal, discloses the 
glorious expanse of the Mediterranean, and frames in 
its broad mirror of dazzling blue. The village we 
passed through lies on the left below; and on the 
right another smaller hamlet, Mejduleneh, is perched 
high up on the mountain-side. Lady Hester's private 
garden fronted this wonderful view, and almost the 
only corner of the building left standing, the south- 
west angle, which contained her own rooms, looks out 
upon it. From them a door opened through which, 
at any moment, she could wander out among the 
flowers she loved so well. Close by, in the garden 
wall, we were shown another private door, similar 
to those used in harems, which enabled her to 
communicate secretly with the outer world. At a 
given signal the messenger she expected could be 
admitted, and dismissed again without any of the 
household being the wiser. Even the doctor seems 
to have known nothing of this mysterious door, 

1895] DJOUN IN 1895 455 

as he never mentions it in his description of 
the building. 

" Djoun must have been a large place, for the garden 
wall, still existing, encloses a considerable extent of 
ground. It was all built of the white stone of 
the country, which remains as fresh and clean as when 
it left the quarry. There is now no possibility of 
tracing the disposition of the rooms, and the farmer 
has added a building to lodge himself and his family. 
A mat was spread on the ground for us, under one of 
Lady Hester's great orange trees, now loaded with 
fruit, and there we ate our luncheon x and were photo- 
graphed by the Consul's son. ' How wonderful,' I 
said to him, ' it is to us to be sitting here, in the warm 
shade, resting from the heat, in December ! ' ' This is 
the weather we generally have in December,' he 
replied ; ' only in January it begins to be a little cold, 
and even then the glass never falls below forty.' I 
was particularly struck with the mountain air ; it was 
delicious to breathe, bright and inspiring, and yet soft 
and caressing as ' the south wind that woos,' and I 
recalled the doctor's dictum, that if Lady Hester 
latterly had lived more out of doors, the balmy air of 
Syria would have kept her in good health. We had 
to hurry away, for we had been three hours in coming, 
and should be nearly as long in returning, so it was 
important not to be on the mountains after dark, 
lest the men should lose their way. I walked down, 
by a path now impassable for my litter, but which, in 
Lady Hester's time, had been a well-kept road. On 
the mountain-side is a spring of excellent water, that 
supplied her house, and a growth of thyme and other 

1 Five knives and four forks disappeared from our luncheon basket 
during this picnic. The predatory instinct has not died out in 


strongly aromatic herbs, whose names I do not know. 
The journey back showed the mountains to even 
greater advantage, for the westering sun threw long 
shadows, bringing out every fold and detail in their 
structure, and purpling them with the glorious 
evening colouring of the East. When we reached the 
sea-shore, it had set in a flood of crimson light, and 
we journeyed on in the warm twilight, the stars coming 
out one by one, so close to the rippling waves, that 
my bearer's feet were washed by the surf. I have 
never enjoyed anything more than this day's expedi- 
tion. I have always wished to see Djoun, and I think 
it has even surpassed my expectations. No doubt it 
is a most beautiful, in some respects a unique place, 
but still I could not have lived there, remote from the 
civilised world. 

"We got back on board by six o'clock and sailed 
immediately, the Consul presenting us with a most mag- 
nificent bunch of bananas from his garden as a parting 
gift. He is of Maltese extraction (descended, if you 
please, ' as his name imports, from Abel the son of 
Adam '), but his family has been long settled in Syria, 
and his father was Consul here before him, and 
remembered Lady Hester well. The wonderful 
Greek sarcophagi now at Constantinople were dis- 
covered within a few yards of his own garden, quite 
by accident. But what was the use of digging ? The 
Government appropriated whatever was found. He 
told us that at the cost of not more that 30,000, 
Saida might obtain a very good harbour ; at present 
there is none, ships lie under the lee of an island, 
which, in old times, was connected with the shore 
by a breakwater." 

Here end my experiences of Djoun, and here, too, 

1897] CONCLUSION 457 

ends all I have to tell of my poor aunt Hester. I 
never saw her ; she left England nine years before 
I was born, and our homes were three thousand miles 
asunder. Even had the opportunity offered, I greatly 
fear she might not have consented to receive me. 
But I have always felt a strong interest in her striking 
and original character, warm sympathy in her mis- 
fortunes, and deep compassion for her sad fate. She 
who had helped and befriended so many, found no 
one to stand by her in her sorest need, and died bereft 
of all human aid and consolation. Yet who can say 
she was deserted and forgotten ? There is one Com- 
forter who never fails the afflicted who call upon 
Him ; and I may venture to conclude with Manzoni's 
beautiful lines on another forlorn death-bed : 

II Dio che atterra e suscita, 
Che affanna e che consola, 
Sulla deserta coltrice 
Accanto a lei poso. 


Abbott, Mr., Consul at Beyrout, 

218, 220-223, 225, 432 
Abdalla, Pacha of Acre, 146, 173, 

194, 223, 224, 238, 240, 269, 

290, 337 

Abd-el-Rasak, 193 
Abela, Mr., Consul, 340, 428 
Abercromby, Mr., Speaker of the 

House of Commons, 356 
Aberdeen, George, third Earl of, 


Abu Ghosh, 287 
A'Court, Mr., 40 
Acre, 123, 124, 146, 173, 174, 175, 

194, 195, 274, 288, 289, 303, 337 
Pacha of. See Abdalla 
Addington, Henry. See Sidmouth, 

first Viscount 
Adhemar, Count d', 6 
Ahmed Bey, 272, 274 
Aleppo, 129, 140, 141, 166, 191, 

194, 337. 36i, 418 
Alexandria, 113, 120, 238, 305 
Anderson, General, 76, 77, 8l, 

163, 177, 196,434 
Anson, Mr., 321 
Antioch, 129, 149, 195 
Athens, 96, 113 
Aubin, Mr., Consul, 219 
Awgy, 171, 174, 175 
Ayesha, 386 

Baalbec, 171, 175 
Bagdad, 149, 159 
Baillie, Charles, 22, 28 
Baillie, Dr., 69 
Baillie, George, 28 
Bankes, William, 187, 206 
Banks, Lady, 242, 255 
Banks, Sir J., 20, 242 
Barker, Mr., Consul-General, 136, 
139-141, 148, 170, 179, 195, 219 
Barnard, General, 346 
Barrie, Captain, 102 

Bath, 18, 19, 32, 36, 58, 69, 84 

Bathurst, Henry, third Earl, 174 

Beauclerk, Lady D., 43 

Beaufort, Captain, 144 

Bedford, Duke of, 243, 443 

Belvedere, 43 

Bentinck, Lord Frederick, 250 

Berlin, 30, 39, 43, 44, 68 

Beshy'r, Emir, 171, 178, 212, 216, 
223, 234, 237, 238, 240, 349-253, 
316, 341, 377, 385, 398,408, 409 

Beshyr, Sheick, 148, 237, 240 

Bethlehem, 123 

Beyrout, 218, 222, 225, 232, 261, 
288, 291-293, 318, 325, 340, 
344. 345. 36i, 366, 390, 427, 

Binning, Thomas, afterwards 
ninth Earl of Haddington, 5, 28 

Boconnoc, 161 

Bonaparte, General, 58, 105, 184, 
287, 296, 302, 313 

Bontin, Colonel, 194, 195, 200 

Bosrah, 150 

Bosville, Colonel, 45 

Brandenburg-Baireuth, Margra- 
vine of, 13, 26 

Breyer, Professor, 13, 25 

Brisbane, Captain, 96 

Brooke, Henry Richard Greville, 
Lord, afterwards third Earl of 
Warwick, 40 

Brothers, Richard, 206, 209 

Brown, Captain, 415 

Bruce, Michael, 94, 95, 97, 98, 
in, 112, 119, 123, 124, 136, 
139-141, 151, 154, 163-167, 176, 
180, 182, 197, 200, 376 

Brusa, 105, in, 112, 120, 209 

Buckingham, George, first Mar- 
quis, afterwards Duke of, ai, 
183, 245, 290, 368 

Buckingham, J. Silk, 187 

Travels among the A rab 

Tribes, 187-193 




Builth, 84. 85 

Burckhardt, John L., 124, 151, 

158. 205 
Burdett, Sir Francis, 12, 22, 27, 

338. 352, 361, 362, 403, 443 
his letter to Lord Stanhope, 


Burdett, William J., 22 
Burrard, Sir Henry, 74, 77 
Burton Pynsent, 12, 18, 19, 21- 

26, 31, 32,47. 3 10 
Buseck, Baron de, 292, 393, 397, 

406, 408 

Bute, John, second Marquis of, 94 
Bute, Marchioness of, 94 
Byron, Lord, 96, 305 

Cairo, 121-124, 145, 151 

Calais, 247 

Camden, John Jeffreys, second 

Earl, 51 
Camelford, Lord, 32, 59, 290, 344, 

Campbell, Colonel, Consul-General 

for Syria, 341-345, 347, 354, 

360, 363, 399, 400, 402 
his letter to Lady Hester, 


Campbell, General, 94 
Campbell, Lady, 20 
Canning, George, 49, 59, 72, 82, 

83, 108, 133, 161, 177. 245 
Canning, Stratford, afterwards 

Viscount Stratford de Red- 

cliffe, 97, 98, 105-110, 251 
Canning, Stratford, Life of, 6, 97- 

99, 108 

Caramania, 163, 275 
Carmel, Mount, 123 
Carrington, Lady, 51, 53 
Carrington, Robert, first Lord, 5 1 , 

53. "3 

Castlereagh, Robert, Viscount, 
afterwards second Marquis of 
Londonderry, 61, 63, 82, 83, 98 
Cavendish, Lady George, 58 
Cavendish, Lord George, 58 
Charlotte, Queen, 10, 30 
Chasseaud, M., 266, 273, 308-310 
Chatham, Countess of, grand- 
mother of Lady Hester Stan- 
hope, 12, 16, 23, 36, 47, 295 
Chatham, Countess of, aunt to 

Lady Hester Stanhope, 52 
Chatham, first Earl of, grand- 
father of Lady Hester Stanhope, 
i, 294, 346, 441, 442 

Chatham, second Earl of, uncle 
to Lady Hester Stanhope, 14, 
32, 47. 52, 72, 113, 235-237 

Chesterfield, Lord, 361 

Chevening, 2, 3, 7, II, 12, 13, 14, 
17, 20, 31, 34, 118, 206, 435 

Cholmondeley , 113 

Cleveland, Duchess of, 451 

Clinton, General, 90, 103 

Colborne, Major, 77 

Colburn's New Monthly Magazine, 

95. 438 
Constantinople, 96-103, no, 112, 

114, 140, 144, 150, 194, 289, 

296, 337, 377 
Corinth, 96 

Coutts, Thomas, 115, 184, 207 
Cowper, Peter L. L. F. N., fifth 

Earl, 38 

Crescent and the Cross, The, 447 
Crete, 247 
Cullen, Charles, 18 
Cyprus, 238, 325, 412, 440 

Dalton, Mr., 35, 55 

Damascus, 126, 127, 141, 145, 146, 

148, 150, 151, 166, 179, 190- 

196, 240, 274, 297, 337 

Pacha of, 146, 173, 193, 194, 
196, 238, 239, 272 

Dartford Lodge, 43 
David, Mrs., 226 
Davidson, Mr., 259, 260 
Dayr, son-in-law of Mohanna-el- 
Fadel, 376-378 

his letter to Lady Hester, 377- 

Dayr-el-Kamar, 124, 125, 126 

Dayr Mkhalla, 392, 393 

Dedem, Baron, Batavian Minister 
at Stuttgard, 44 

Delaborde, Count, 323 

Diary of a Lady of Quality, 261 

Didot, M., 73, 197 

Notes d'un Voyage fait dans le 

Levant, 197 

Djoun, 125, 207, 208, 227, 228. 
232-236, 241, 243, 247, 249, 
2 55, 2 59. 2 74. 275, 276, 288, 
291, 3 10 - 3 J 9. 323. 346-361, 
366, 370, 376, 384, 397, 412, 427, 
430, 434, 440, 444, 448, 449 

Douglas, Sir Charles, 40 

Douglas, Frederick, 112 

Dover Castle, 39, 57 

Dropmore, 161 

Drummond, Mr., 39, 40, 41 



Dundas, General Sir David, 52, 

134, 153, 181, 201 
Dundas, Lady Jane, 28 
Dundas, Mr., 323, 415 

Ebrington, Hugh, Viscount, after- 
wards second Earl Fortescue, 
94, 113, 122, 139, 150, 162 

Egerton, Mr. and. Mrs., 29, 36, 37, 
40, 42, 43, 44, 45, 55 

Eliot, Harriet, 16, 43, 47 

Ellis, Charles, 59 

Elwes, Mr., 24 

Entin, 45 

Erlang, 13, 23, 43 

Erode, Dr. d',427 

Farquhar, Sir W., 65, 390 
Fatoom, 258, 266, 273, 323, 335- 

337. 412, 426 
Fazakerley, Mr., 209 
Fergusson, Mr., 58 
Feriat, Baroness de, 314, 317, 318 
Fernandez, Mr., 94, 144, 147 
Fernandez, Mrs., 94, 144-147, 

163, 187 

Fitzgerald, Colonel, 18 
Florence, 41, 178 
Forester, Lady Katherine, 58 
Forster, Captain, 170, 171 
Foster, Mr., 321, 322, 437 
Fox, Charles James, 352, 355, 356, 

363. 413 

Fry, Anne, 94, 115, 121, 154, 170, 

" Gaiety, Count," 397, 408 

Gaza, 122 

Genoa, 255 

George III., 10, 30 

George, Prince of Wales, after- 
wards George IV., 28 

Gerardin, M., 257 

Gibraltar, 94, 178 

Glastonbury, Lord, 12, 16, 24 

Glen Irfon, 86-89, 92 

Gordon, Colonel, 58, 143, 157 

Graham, Colonel, 76 

Grantham, Lord, 40 

Granville, Granville Leveson- 
Gower, first Earl, 65, 68, 72, 73, 
78, 82, 161, 162 

Granville, Mrs., 14 

Grenville, General, 205, 229, 231 

Grey, Lord, 8 

Guys, M., French Consul at Bey- 
rout, 312, 324-325, 343-345, 
361, 367, 409, 418, 419 

his letter to Lady Hester, 


Haddington, Charles, eighth Earl 
of, i, 15, 16 

his letter to Lady Hester, 1 5 

Haddington, Countess of, 39 

Haddington, Thomas, seventh 
Earl of, 1 5 

Haifa, 123, 209 

Hamar, 141, 143, 144, 147, 148, 
156, 157, 164, 173, 191, 194, 
288, 313 

Hamilton, Mr., 219 

Hardinge, Captain, 76 

Hardwicke, Charles Philip, fourth 
Earl of, 288, 313, 338, 344, 405, 
423-425. See also Yorke, Cap- 

Harrowby, Nathaniel, second 
Baron, afterwards first Earl, 68, 

Hassan Effendi, 272, 274 

Hastings, 7 

Hawkesbury, Lord, 72, 133 

Hawley, Sir H., 20 

Hazetta, Colonel, 407 

Hillier, William, 118 

Holland, Lord, 352, 355, 356 

Horns, 148, 191, 288 

Homsy, M., money-lender, 341 

Hope, Alex, 57, 77 

Hope, Captain Henry, 120, 125, 

130, 153 

Hope, Thomas, 41 
Howden, Lord, 226 
Hutchinson, Captain, 182 

Ibrahim Pacha, 274, 288, 290, 
302, 303, 334, 3Si, 378, 4o8- 

Ishmael Bey, 123, 132, 151, 167 

Ismael, Mulla, 143 

Jackson, T. J., 12, 13, 16, 30 

Jackson, Mrs. T. J., 59 

Jaffa, 122, 175 

Jenesson, Count, 43 

Jerusalem, 123 

Jones, Betsy, 84, 85, 89 
! Jones, Sir H., 102 
| Joyce, Rev. J., tutor to Lady 
i Hester's brothers, n 



Kensington (William Edwardes), 

second Baron, 85, 385 
Kent, Duchess of, 349 
Kent, Duke of, 346 
Kilmorey, Francis J., second 

Earl of, 312, 405, 443 
King, Captain Hon. John, 94 
Kinglake, A. W., 291-311, 376 

Eothen, 291-311 

Knight, Mr., 132, 209 
Knox, Mr. 321, 437 

Lamartine, Alphonse de, 240, 
274-289, 306, 307, 310, 312, 
314, 364, 369, 381-383 

his letter to Lady Hester, 


Voyage en Orient, 278, 381 

Lamb, Sir Frederic, afterwards 

third Viscount Melbourne, 336 
Land and the Book, The, 433, 449 
Lansdowne, Francis Thomas, 

third Earl of, 1 8 
Laove, Dr., 398 
Lascaris, M., 312 
Latakia, 159, 166, 167, 194 
Latour-Maubourg, M., 105, 106, 

107, 109, 112 
Laurello, Mr., Austrian Consul at 

Beyrout, 218, 221. 225 
Lavallette, M., 95, 98. 182 
Leghorn, 41, 178, 247, 250, 274 
Leveson-Gower, George, 451 
Leveson-Gower, Lord Granville. 

See Granville, first Earl 
Lincoln, Bishop of, 72 
Liston, Sir Robert, 170, 173 
Liverpool, Robert Bankes, second 

Earl of, 6 1, 63 
Logmagi, Hassan, Lady Hester's 

steward, 336, 337, 393, 412, 421 
Louis XVIII., 182, 183 
Loustaneau, " General," 209, 319, 


Lubeck, 44 
Lunardi, Dr., 274, 275, 291, 293, 

308. 315, 426 
Lyons, 39 
Lyttelton, Lord, 26 

Mahadini Effendi, 150 

Mahon, Charles, Viscount. See 
Stanhope, third Earl 

Mahon, Philip Henry, Viscount, 
half-brother of Lady Hester and 
afterwards fourth Earl Stan- 

hope, 11-21, 23, 25-29, 31, 32, 

36-39,41,42, 50, 53, 54, 57,66, 
67,72,118,161. SeeStanhope, 
Philip Henry, fourth Earl 

Mahon, Viscountess (Catherine 
Smith), sister-in-law to Lady 
Hester Stanhope, 57, 66, 67 

Mahon, Viscountess (Hester Pitt), 
mother of Lady Hester Stan- 
hope, 1,15 

Mahon, Viscountess (Louisa Gren- 
ville), step-mother to Lady 
Hester Stanhope, 1,2. See also 
Stanhope, Countess 

Maitland, General, 177 

Malta, 94, 95, 139, 144, 147, 163, 
180, 187, 225 

Mar Antonius, 171, 172 

Mar Elias, 169, 170, 172-174, 179, 
182, 187, 193, 196, 197, 207, 
319, 323, 446 

Margam, 90, 91 

Marmora, 120 

Marseilles, 261, 337 

Mary, Princess, 30 

Maubourg, M. See Latour-Mau- 

Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, 


Mecca, 159, 202 

Meryon, Dr., 6, 93, 94, 98, 101, 
102, 112, 119, 120, 143, 147, 
154, 169, 171, 172, 181, 188, 
193. J 96, 201, 204, 205, 207- 
209, 228-231, 239, 247, 250, 
259, 261, 262, 272, 273, 274, 
313. 3i8. 337-340, 347, 349. 
355. 362, 365, 368, 370. 371, 
377. 38i, 385. 387-390, 392- 
395. 403, 405, 406, 411, 413, 

his letter to Lady Hester, 


to Lord Stanhope, 437 

Meryon, Mrs., 228, 248, 256, 261, 
262, 272, 273, 318, 319, 323, 
325. 340, 411 

Methuen, Mr., 26 

Metta, 210 

Mills, Dr., 323, 415 

Miranda, General, 434 

Mishmushy. 171, 223 

Misset, Colonel, 120, 177 

Mohammed Ali, 169, 250, 290, 
304. 341. 351 

Mobanna-el-Fadel, 135, 141, 148, 
149, 151, 152, 156, 187, 193, 
312, 376, 377 



Montague, Lord, 40 

Mont Cenis, 38 

Moore, GeneralSir John, 57, 62,67, 

72-84, 91, 98, 99, 198, 200, 430 
his letters to Lady Hester, 

74, 76 

Moore, Sir John, Life of, 76, 91 
Moore, Mr., Consul at Beyrout, 

340, 343, 345, 353, 426, 447, 450 
his letter to Lord Stanhope, 

recounting the circumstances 

of Lady Hester's death, 427- 


Mfiosa, 257 

Mulgrave, Henry, third Baron, 1 77 
Mulgrave, Lord, Letters, 46 
Murray, J., Captain R.N., 35 
Murray, Mr., Lady Hester's 

lawyer, 230, 434 
Mustafa, an old barber, 334, 335, 

Mustafa Aga Berber, 194, 195 

Napier, Sir WilJiam, 49, 81, 416 

his Life, quoted, 60-64 

his letter to The Times, 416- 


Naples, 39 
Nasar, son of Mohanna-el-Fadel, 

164, 187, 193, 376 
Nash, nurse at Chevening, 1 18 
Nazareth, 124, 151 
Neale, Lady, 41 

Needham, Colonel, 312, 405, 443 
Nelson, Horatio, Viscount, 26 
Norman, Mr., 118 
North, Francis, afterwards fourth 

Earl of Guilford, 112, 125, 129 
Nugent, Lord, 415 

Oakes, General Sir Hildebrand, 
94, 95, 109, 119, 121, 125, 132, 
163, 438 

Ouseley, Sir Gore, 329 

Paget, Lord, 77, 152 
Palmerston, Lord, 342, 348, 350, 

353. 354, 399, 413. 4*5. 4*6, 

417. 444 
his letter to Lady Hester, 


Palmyra, 128, 134, 136, 139, 149, 
I 5 I . 153-161, 163-166, 168, 
187, 199, 200, 297, 312, 376, 377 

Paris, 261 

Parseval, Amedee de, 276, 285 

Patras, 96 

Pearce, Mr., 95, 98, 119, 122 

Pechell, Captain, 323 

Perceval, Spencer, 100 

Percy, Algernon, 40 

Perini, Paolo, 266 

Perry, Captain, 77 

Phipps, General, 99 

Pisa, 247, 256, 259 

Pisani, Mr., 100, 107 

Pitt, Lady Harriet, aunt of Lady 
Hester, 16 

Pitt, William, uncle to Lady 
Hester Stanhope, i, 8, 10, n, 
17, 27, 28, 36-39, 47-51. 53-71. 
79, 80, 86, 91, 98, 99, 161, 162, 
176, 177, 198, 249, 286, 295, 
312, 326-328. 346, 352, 353, 
355, 356, 364. 390, 418, 442, 443 

Pitt, William, Life of, by Earl 
Stanhope, 48 

Plymouth, Lord, 101 

Porte, Count de la, 323 

Portsmouth, 94 

Price, Mrs., of Glen Irfon, 86-88, 

Price, Rev. Rice, 86 

Price, Rev. Thomas, 49, 84, 85, 

Prince of the Mountain, the, 124, 

130, 208, 240, 241 
Puckler Muskau, Prince, 362-389, 

his letter to Lady Hester, 

Briefe eines Verstorbenen, 

Putney, 60-64 

Ramleh, 123 
Reichstadt, Duke of, 217 
Reynolds, Dr., 69 
Rhodes, no, 114-117, 198 
Rice, Mr., 327, 328 
Richelieu, Due de, 323 
Richmond, Charles, fourth Duke 

of, 87, 434 

Richmond, Duchess of, 434 
Rome, 247 
Romney, Lord, 9, 10 
Rosetta, 121, 122 
Rutland, Duchess of, 1 10 

Saada, 335~337 

St. Asaph, Lord, 323 

Sarell, Mr., 224, 225 



Sayda, 148, 170-172, 179, 188, 
196, 198, 218, 220, 222, 226, 
227, 232, 233, 239, 250, 255, 274, 
340, 362, 366, 392-394. 398, 
402 , 41 2, 43 1 , 440, 444, 449, 45 1 

Scio, 119 

Shadwell, Colonel, 9 

Sheridan, R. B., 94 

Sheriff Pacha, 351 

Shibly-el-Arrian, 410 

Sicily, 93 

Sidmouth, Henry Addington, first 
Viscount, 49, 65, 328 

Sidon. See Sayda 

Sligo, Howe Peter, second 
Marquis of , 94-97, 104, 1 10, 1 1 1 , 
151, 177, 196 

Smith, Catherine, daughter of 
first Lord Carrington, after- | 
wards Viscountess Mahon, 51, 
53. See Viscountess Mahon 

Smith, Charlotte, daughter of 
first Lord Carrington, after- 
wards wife of Alan, Lord 
Gardner, 53 

Smith, Lady Ann, 18 

Smith, Sir Sidney, 178, 218, 
220, 245, 296 

his letter to Lady Hester, 


Smith, Thurlow, 178 

Smyrna, 120, 144, 166 

Somerset, Lord A., 90 

Spencer, William, 43 

Stafford, Lady, 59, 68 

Stanhope, Charles, third Earl, 
father of Lady Hester, 1-4, 8, 
9,12.16,17,18,21,53,206,328 j 

Stanhope, Charles, half-brother of 
Lady Hester, u, 20, 21, 31-34, i 
51, 54, 55, 60, 62, 67, 72-75. 79- 
82, 84, 161, 207, 346, 418, 434 

Stanhope, Dowager Viscountess, 
grandmother of Lady Hester, 
15, 20 

Stanhope, James, half-brother of 
Lady Hester, n, 21, 31, 33, 57, 
62, 67, 69, 72, 73, 77, 84, 89, 90, | 
91, 92, 94, 100, 143, 161, 176, i 
182,185,186,203,207,231,237, \ 
241, 242, 418, 434 

Stanhope, Lady Griselda, after- 
wards Mrs. Tekell, sister to 
Lady Hester, 5, 8, n, 12, 72, 73, 
241, 328 

Stanhope, Lady Hester, her 
parentage, i ; her character, 4, 

5 ; her early life and gover- 
nesses, 5-9 ; at trial of Warren 
Hastings, 8 ; talks philosophy 
with her father, a fine horse- 
woman, 9 ; dines with the King 
at Lord Romney's, 10 ; goes to 
live with Lady Chatham at 
Burton Pynsent, plans her 
eldest brother's escape from 
Chevening, 12-14 ', her care for 
her younger brothers, 16 ; at 
Bath, 18, 19; rumours of her 
engagements, marriages, and 
elopement, 26 ; a visit to the 
Continent proposed, 29 ; a 
visit to Weymouth, 30 ; visits 
the Continent with Mr. and 
Mrs. Egerton, 36-46 ; on her 
way visits Mr. Pitt at Walmer 
Castle, writes from Turin, 37 ; 
Naples, 39 ; Tonningen, 42 ; 
Florence, 41 ; Stuttgard, Lii- 
beck, 44 ; Entin, 45 ; return 
to England, Lady Chatham 
having died she makes her home 
with Mr. Pitt, 47 ; Earl Stan- 
hope's description of her in The 
Life of Pitt, 48 ; her recollec- 
tions in later years of these 
days, 48, 49 ; opinions of her 
beauty, 49 ; her personal ap- 
pearance, 50 ; her expectation 
of a French invasion, 52, 55, 56 ; 
Sir W. Napier's account of her 
life with Pitt at Putney, 60-64 ; 
at Pitt's death goes to Lord 
Harrington's, 71 ; at Pitt's 
dying request is granted by 
Parliament a pension of 1,200, 
removes to a house in Montagu 
Square, unfriendly with most 
of her relatives, her engage- 
ment to Sir John Moore re- 
ported, 72 ; at Builth, 84 ; her 
fancied likeness to William Pitt, 
86 ; arranges to take rooms at 
Glen Irfon, 86-89 ; decides to 
give up her house in London 
and go abroad, 92 ; leaves 
England, contemplating a re- 
turn, 93 ; embarks at Ports- 
mouth for Gibraltar and thence 
to Malta, 94 ; leaves Malta, 95, 
for Zante, Patras, Corinth, and 
Athens, 96 ; Constantinople, 
97 ; Therapia, 97, 98 ; quarrels 
with S. Canning, 105, 106 ; the 
quarrel made up, 1 10 ; dis- 



appointed in her hopes of going 
to France and Italy, 112; de- 
cides to go to Egypt, 113 ; on 
the voyage to Alexandria is 
shipwrecked at Rhodes, 114; 
her description of the ship- 
wreck, 115, 116, and of her 
costume, 117; inquiries about 
her old nurse, 118; conveyed 
by the Salsette frigate from 
Rhodes to Alexandria, 120 ; the 
journey to Cairo and hospitality 
of the Pacha, 121 ; sends 
Arab chargers to Duke of York 
and Lord Ebrington, she is in 
danger of drowning in a leaking 
boat, at Jaffa commences her 
travels through Syria and the 
Holy Land on horseback, 122 ; 
at Jerusalem, 123 ; at Dayr-el- 
Kamar, 125, i26,andDamascus, 
127; Palmyra, 128-141 ; Aleppo, 
Antioch, 129; her visit to 
General Dundas, 135 ; the visit 
to Palmyra postponed, 136, 
139 ; removes to Hamar, 141 ; 
spends a week in the desert in 
the Arabs' encampment, 141- 
142 ; describes her costume, 
144-145 ; her departure for 
Palmyra, 153 ; her accounts of 
the expedition, 154-161 ; Mr. 
Bruce's account of a disagree- 
able incident on the journey, 
163-164; takes a house at 
Latakia for the summer, 166 ; 
rents the convent Mar Elias, 
seized with the plague, 169 ; 
authorised by the Sultan to 
search for treasure at Ascalon, 
Awgy, and Sidon, 170, 171 ; 
visits Baalbec, 171; a dinner at 
Mar Antonius, 171, 172 ; search 
for treasure, at Ascalon, 173, 
1 74 ; at Awgy, 1 74 ; her poli- 
tical opinions, 184-186; Silk 
Buckingham's description of her 
and her life at Mar Elias, 188- 
190 ; a Druse woman's account 
of her, 190-192 ; her benevolence 
and influence, 193 ; she pro- 
cures the punishment of the 
murderers of the French Colonel 
Bontin, 194, and is thanked 
by the Chamber of Deputies, 
195 ; never free from debt for 
the last twenty-three years of 
her life, 196 ; M. Didot's ac- 

count of an interview with her, 
198-200 ; loses her father, 206; 
removes from Mar Elias to 
Djoun, 207, and remains 
there for the rest of her life, 
208 ; her belief in Brothers' 
prophecy of her Oriental king- 
dom, 209-21 1 ; other prophecies 
to the same effect, 209, 210 ; 
her religious beliefs, 212; the 
account of her in Memoirs of a 
Babylonian Princess, 213217 ; 
she drops all her English corre- 
spondents, 217 ; her opinion of 
the local consuls, 218-222, and 
of missionaries, 222, 223 ; her 
loan to Abdalla Pacha, 223- 
225 ; chastises Dr. Wolff's mes- 
senger, 227 ; Captain Yorke's 
account of a visit to her, 232- 
237 ; her account of the revolu- 
tion on the Lebanon, 237-240 
loss of her brother James, 241 
her monetary troubles, 242 , 
she wants Scotch servants sent 
out to her, she is duped by an 
impostor, 243, 244 ; she refuses 
assistance from friends in Eng- 
land, 245 ; her failing sight, 
246, 252; instructions how to 
select servants for her, 246-247 ; 
her servants threatened, 249 ; 
she is in fear of her life, 250, 
251 ; supports refugees at 
Djoun at the time of the battle 
of Navarino, at the death of 
Lady Banks comes into pos- 
session of an annuity left by her 
brother James, 255 ; her loss in 
the death of Miss Williams, 257- 
259; her servants' neglect of her 
during Miss Williams' illness, 
258, 259 ; Mr. Davidson's ac- 
count of her and an imaginary 
visit to Persia, 260, 261 ; Dr. 
Meryon's description of her 
home and life on his return, 
262-271; she quarrels with Dr. 
Meryon, 272, 273 ; a letter from 
Lamartine to her, 275 ; his ac- 
count of a visit to her, 276-287 ; 
Kinglake's account of a visit to 
her, 291-31 1 ; she is falsely in- 
formed she has inherited an 
estate in Ireland, 311, 312 ; she 
denies the truth of much that 
Lamartine had written about 
her, 312, 313 ; Dr. Meryon's 



account of her health, 320 ; 
often did not see visitors on 
account of her health, 3 21, and 
lack of means, 322 ; some of the 
visitors whom she received, 

323 ; her ideas of a domestic life, 

324 ; her pleasure in hearing 
Dr. Meryon read, 326 ; in- 
stances of her untrustworthy 
memory, 327, 328 ; is presented 
with History of the Temple at 
Jerusalembythe Oriental Trans- 
lation Fund Society, 328-329 ; 
her false etymologies, 329-333 ; 
she shelters the brothers of two 
of her maids from the conscrip- 
tion, 334-337 ; her anxiety to 
hear more of the promised Irish 
estate, 338 ; her enfeebled state, 
338 ; the disorder of her bed- 
room through her long confine- 
ment to it, 339 ; she is pressed 
by a money-lender for pay- 
ment of a loan, 340-345 ; her 
pension confiscated, 343 ; her 
feelings outraged by this action, 
346, 347 ; her letters on the 
subject, 347-361 ; improve- 
ment in her health and a visit 
from Prince Piickler Muskau, 
364-389 ; his description of her 
appearance and dress, 371 , 372 ; 
her conversation on astrology, 
373-375 ; another account of 
her adventures in the desert, 
376-378 ; her mares, 379, 380 ; 
her idea of the Eastern origins 
of European nations, 383 ; her 
garden by moonlight, 384 ; her 
tale of the serpent's cave, 387, 
388 ; she sends supplies to some 
Germans in quarantine, who 
turn out to be a royal duke 
and his suite, 392 ; she invites 
the Duke of Bavaria to stay 
with her, 396 ; but is taken ill 
and is unable to receive him, 
397 ; her anxiety that her corre- 
spondence about her pension 
should be published, 399 ; she 
receives Sir F. Burdett's answer 
to her letter about the Irish 
estate, she dismisses Dr. Mer- 
yon, 403 ; the Irish bequest a 
hoax, 404 ; now Dr. Meryon 
has left she has no one speaking 
English, 411; asks Lord Hard- 
wicke to sell her pension, 414; the 

publication of her correspond- 
ence did not help her, 416 ; Lord 
Hardwicke tells her it is im- 
possible to sell her pension 
whilst she is out of England, 
but she will not return, 42 5 ; her 
lonely death, 426 ; Mr. Moore's 
letter to Lord Stanhope re- 
lating the circumstances of her 
death, 427-429 ; the account of 
the funeral and of what he had 
learnt of her by Rev. W. M. 
Thomson, 429-433 ; her will, 
433. 434 I The Quarterly Review 
notice of Dr. Meryon's Memoirs 
of Lady Hester, 440-444 ; War- 
burton's account of a visit to 
Djoun, 444-447 ; Lord Wear- 
dale's account of a pilgrimage 
to his great aunt's grave, 449- 
^50; the Duchess of Cleveland's 
account of her later visit, 451- 

Stanhope, Lady Hester : 

Her Letters 

to Mr. Abercromby, 356- 


to W. D. Adams, 65, 71 

to General Anderson, 1 96- 


to Sir Joseph Banks, 203 

to Lord Bathurst, 1 74 

to the Marquis of Bucking- 
ham, 183-186 

to Sir Francis Burdett, 404- 


to Colonel Campbell, 347, 


to George Canning, 83, 167- 


to Stratford Canning, 99- 

105, no, in, 130-133 
to the second Earl of Chat- 
ham, 84 

to Lord Ebrington, 362, 363 

to Mrs. Fernandez, 144-147 

to " Count Gaiety," 408-41 1 

to Lord Glastonbury, 12-14 

to Lord Granville, 78-80 

to Mr. Guys, 3 1 2-3 1 3 

to Lord Haddington, 15, 39, 


to Lord Hardwicke, 288- 

291, 412-415, 420, 426, 427. 
See also those to Captain Yorke 

to T. J. Jackson, 18-46, 52- 

59, 66-68 
to A. W. Kinglake, 292 



Stanhope, Lady Hester : 
Her Letters 

to Louis XVIII., 182 

to Maximilian, Duke of 

Bavaria, 392-397 
to Dr. Meryon, 228-231, 

239-240, 242-248, 251-253, 

255-257, 313-318. 324, 325. 

412, 418, 420-422 

to Mr. Moore, 348 

to Mr. Murray, the family 

lawyer, 17-18, 115-119 
to General Oakes, 119, 121, 

128-130, 134-144, 153, 166, 

167, 175, 181, 201 

to Sir Gore Ouseley, 329-333 

to Lord Palmerston, 400- 

to Prince Piickler Muskau^ 

367, 369 

to Mr. Rose, 90-92 

to Lord Sligo, 127 

to Lord Strangford, 218-226 

to Sir Edward Sugden, 357- 


to Queen Victoria, 349 

to Mr. Webb, 249-250, 253- 

255, 257-259 
to the Marquis Wellesley, 

to the Duke of Wellington, 

to Henry Williams Wynne, 

147-151, 159-166 

to Dr. J. Wolff, 226 

to the Duke of York, 202 

to Captain Yorke, 237-239, 

288-291. See also those to 

Lord Hardwicke 
to unnamed correspondents, 

73, 80-82, 125, 127, 152, 154- 

Stanhope, Lady Hester, Memoirs 

of, as related by herself to her 

Physician, 5, 271, 436-440 
Stanhope, Lady Lucy, sister to 

Lady Hester, 5, 8, n, 17. 28, 

72, 408 
Stanhope, Philip, second Earl, 

grandfather of Lady Hester, 15, 

Stanhope, Philip Henry, fourth 
Earl, brother of Lady Hester, 
206, 245, 328. 352, 353,434, 436, 


memorandum drawn up by 

him concerning Lady Hester's 
pension, 353~355 

Stanhope, Philip Henry : 

his letter to The Times on 

misrepresentations regarding 
himself in Dr.Meryon's book, 


his letter to Lord Hard- 
wicke, 416 

his letter to Dr. Meryon, 


Stanhope, Philip Henry, after- 
wards fifth Earl, nephew to 
Lady Hester, 67, 68 

Stanhope, Countess (Louisa 
Grenville), stepmother of Lady 
Hester, 8, 20, 53 

Stowe, 161 

Strangways, Mr., 321 

Stratford de Redcliffe, Viscount. 
See Canning, Stratford 

Stuttgard, 43, 44 

Electress of, 43, 44 

Sugden, Sir Edward, 357-361 

Suleiman Pacha, 126, 143, 146, 169, 
224, 289 

Sussex, Duke of, 243, 415, 443 

Sutton, Nassau, 93, 94 

Swinburne, Captain, 41 5 

Taitbout, M., 148 

Talbot, Mr., 91 

Tattenbach, Comte de, 365, 379, 

386, 396 

Taylor, Colonel, 18 
Taylor, Mr., 119 
Temple, Lord, 434 
Thomson, Rev. W. M., 427, 429- 

433. 447-449 
Tonningen, 42 
Tooke, Home, 328 
Tripoli, 172, 194, 313 
Turin, 37, 39 

VandeWeyer, M., 2 

Venice, 42 

Victoria, Queen, 346-353, 35. 

Vienna, 43, 178 

Wales, Princess of, 59. *95 
Walmer Castle, 37- 38. 39. 5o-5, 

65, 67, 98 

Warburton, Eliot, 444 
Way, Mr., missionary, 270 

4 68 


Weardale, Lord, 449 

Webb, John, Lady Hester's 
banker at Leghorn, 248, 256, 
257, 259, 274, 437 

Wellesley, Richard, first Marquis, 

Wellington, Arthur, first Duke of, 
91, 143, 341-343. 353, 355. 363 

Werry, Mr. 238 

Weymouth, 30 

William, Prince (afterwards 
William IV.), 34. 55 

Williams, Elizabeth, 84, 93, 94, 
163, 187, 196, 209, 221, 226,227, 
241-243,251,257, 258,434 

Wilsenheim, Count, 406 

Wilson, Sir Robert, 182 

Wolff, Dr. Joseph, 226, 227, 379 

his letter to Lady Hester, 227 

Wynn, Henry Williams, after- 
wards Sir Henry, 64, no, 112, 
119, 122 

his letters to his mother, 

112, 119, 122 

Wynn, Lady (Hester Smith), aunt 

to Lady Hester, 1 10 
Wynn, Miss, 259 
Wynn, Watkin Williams, 113, 150 

Yakoub Aga, Consul at Sayda, 
218, 220, 221 

York, Duchess of, 18 

York, Frederick Augustus, Duke 
of, 18, 31, 67, 80, 113, 122, 176, 
202, 359 

Yorke, Captain Charles Philip, 
afterwards fourth Earl of Hard- 
wicke, 49, 93, 232, 239, 240, 323 

his letter to his father, Ad- 
miral Yorke, 232-235 

his letter to Lord Chatham, 

235-237. See also Hardwicke, 
fourth Earl of 

Zante, 96 

Zezefoon, 263, 266, 323, 339, 412, 

PrinUd by Maxell, Watson 6- Viney, Ld., Londo* and Aylesbury. 

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